Thomas Farr - the worst

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IDEAS POLITICS

President Trump’s New Judicial Nominee Is ‘Moral Poison’ By WILLIAM J. BARBER II January 11, 2018 IDEAS The Rev. Barber is co-chair of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

President Donald Trump’s pick for a lifetime seat on the federal bench in North Carolina is the latest sign of how our politics have descended. A white man with a 30-year record of white supremacy receiving the unqualified support of the President and our state’s two U.S. senators, while two qualified African-American women cannot even get a hearing, is not merely bad politics. It is moral poison. More than 50 years after the passage of the now-defunct Voting Rights Act, how can North Carolina still be stuck in this moral ditch?

One prime reason is Thomas Farr, the Raleigh attorney Trump nominated for a judicial appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. I’ve spent my whole life in North Carolina, and I know Farr. I know what he’s done, what he stands for and just how detrimental he will be to his constituents if confirmed.

Farr has been the lead attorney in a series of recent legislative efforts to suppress political participation by African Americans in the state. In 2010, Farr advised the General Assembly in what federal courts later termed a “racial gerrymander” of North Carolina House, Senate and U.S. Congressional districts. In separate lawsuits, each of these redistricting plans was determined to have discriminated against African-American voters.

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a bill that shortened early voting, required voters to present government-issued IDs and eliminated same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting — all of which are techniques known to suppress voters. Farr advised the legislature on the bill and then became lead counsel in a three-year battle to defend it. Federal courts ruled the law unconstitutional and an attempt to disenfranchise African-American voters “with almost surgical precision.”