In an unprecedented move on Thursday, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) announced he would block the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, guaranteeing President Donald Trump's controversial pick will not be confirmed.
The Senate's only Black Republican, Scott was the deciding vote whether Farr, who has been accused of disenfranchising Black voters, would be promoted to United States District Court judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. According to The State, the seat has been vacant since June 1, 2006.
"This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr's activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr's nomination," Scott said in a statement.
The 1991 memo was first obtained by The Washington Post, which describes a controversial postcard campaign sent on behalf of the 1990 campaign of Senator Jesse Helms that the Justice Department alleged were used to intimidate Black voters from heading to the polls.
"I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge, and I am proud that Senate Republicans have confirmed judges at [a historic] rate over the past two years," Scott's statement also said.
Per The Washington Post, Trump nominated Farr to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina that has been empty longer than any other current opening in the nation. President Barack Obama’s nominees, both Black women, did not receive Senate hearings.
Scott mentioned Wednesday that he spoke with the author of the 1991 memo, which brought more clarity to the situation. Scott specified that he wanted to converse with the author once more and "continue to look at what role [Farr] did play at every facet of the process."
Farr has denied having anything to do with the outlining of the postcards.
In an op-ed to Blavity on Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for Senate Republicans to reject Farr's nomination.
"Your partisan affiliation shouldn’t matter. Left, right or center, everyone should be disturbed that Mr. Farr has been involved -- often directly -- in repeated attempts to disenfranchise African-American voters," he wrote. "The Senate should not elevate a person to the federal bench who has spent a good part of his career defending those who want to undermine the right of Americans to vote."
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