NORTH CAROLINA -- With a confirmation vote expected soon, the president’s nominee for a federal judgeship in North Carolina is coming under fire.
- The NAACP says Thomas Farr’s history disqualifies him from sitting on the N.C. Eastern District Bench.
- In recent years, he defended the North Carolina General Assembly after they passed legislation dealing with voting rights.
- North Carolina’s eastern district has never had an African American judge in its more than 140 year history.
The NAACP says Thomas Farr’s history disqualifies him from sitting on the N.C. Eastern District Bench. They join North Carolina Democrats, including Reps. GK Butterfield and Alma Adams, in calling on the U.S. Senate to not confirm him.
In recent years, he defended the North Carolina General Assembly after they passed legislation dealing with voting rights. The court struck that legislation down, saying they targeted African Americans with "almost surgical precision."
“We find his nomination to be extremely problematic,” said Hilary Shelton, the director of the NAACP Washington Bureau. “His experiences and background indicate someone who basically has a real contempt for racial justice issues, someone who has utilized those kinds of trickery and even forms of white supremacy to advance the re-election of Jesse Helms.”
Sen. Thom Tillis, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, supports the nominee. He released a statement saying, "Thomas Farr is widely respected across the political spectrum, including earning the ABA’s highest rating. While it’s unfortunate that some Democrats have lobbed false and personal attacks against him, we look forward to a floor vote.”
The judge seat in question has sat vacant for more than a decade. The Obama administration nominated two African American women to fill the post, but those nominations never advanced on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Richard Burr vowed to block one of those nominates, and never submitted a "blue slip" to advance the other.
The Senate is expected to vote on Farr as early as next week. The question is whether any Republican senators will join with Democrats to block the nominee.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has already said he will stop advancing nominees until the Senate votes on a bill protecting the Special Counsel investigation. With the current balance of power in the Senate, Farr cannot afford any more Republican defections.
North Carolina’s eastern district has never had an African American judge in its more than 140 year history. African Americans make up about 30 percent of the population in the district, according to the Shelton.