Press Statement Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Urges the President to Withdraw the Nomination of Thomas Farr to a Seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robin Chand
November 30, 2018 202-228-3816
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Urges the President to Withdraw the Nomination of Thomas Farr to a Seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Jackson Lee – “Thomas Farr has devoted his legal career to suppressing votes and intimidating and disenfranchising voters, specifically African American voters. In addition, he has actively undermined the rights of workers who have experienced workplace discrimination. And, he defended a car rental franchisee that violated the civil rights of African Americans by discriminating against them regarding terms, conditions and prices. I am gratified that a majority of the Senate is now on record in opposition to this nominee. I urge the President to formally withdraw the nomination.”
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and Member of the House Budget Committee, issued the following statement following Senate rejection of Thomas Farr to be a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina:
“As the confirmation process has unfolded, Thomas Farr has been revealed to have made a career of suppressing voters and intimidating African American voters. Thomas Farr has a dismal record in opposition to voting rights and worker rights. Moreover, he has a decades-long record of defending voter suppression tactics, including Voter ID laws and racial gerrymandering. In addition, he has actively undermined the rights of workers who have experienced workplace discrimination by successfully fighting to invalidate a county ordinance that protected employees from discrimination. And, his defense of a car rental company in a lawsuit for denying African Americans the right to rent cars on the same terms as white customers, was among his most egregious acts, and crystallized the reasons to oppose this individual, and which is why he failed to win confirmation by the United States Senate.
“In 1992, Tom Farr served as counsel for former Senator Jesse Helms. In that role, he defended the campaign against the United States Department of Justice’s complaints of voter intimidation after the Helms Campaign sent post cards to 100,000 African American voters claiming they were ineligible to vote and may be arrested if they voted. This would not be the last time Mr. Farr would make such a representation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, before which Mr. Farr appeared to defend North Carolina’s election laws criticized the law Mr. Farr sought to uphold by stating that it targeted African American voters ‘with almost surgical precision.’ The concerns surrounding gerrymandered legislative districts is not new as the practice denies the longstanding principle of one person one vote, but it reached new heights in response to the districts drawn by North Carolina with the aid of Thomas Farr. For example, in the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans received approximately 50% of the aggregate vote total for congressional elections, but won 10 of 13 congressional elections. This practice, of course, is not foreign to Texas, which some scholars have noted is the poster child of gerrymandered districts.
“Thomas Farr is no ordinary nominee. Indeed, the rejection of this judicial nomination represents a rare moment where partisanship yielded to decency, and an act which represents a victory not only for the State of North Carolina, but also for our whole nation. In view of the strong opposition of Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, it is clear that this individual lacks the support in the Senate to be seated. Accordingly, the President should act swiftly to withdraw this nomination and avert the stain on the federal judiciary that this nominee would represent.”
Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security and the Budget. She is a Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.