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WASHINGTON, D.C. — By the narrowest of margins, the U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to advance controversial judicial nominee Thomas Farr to be a federal judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie -- but his nomination remains uncertain.

 

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization. has called on legislators to reject the nomination.

 

“Thomas Farr has spent his career intimidating and disenfranchising African-American voters,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “Americans deserve judges we can trust to apply our laws faithfully and administer equal justice under those laws. Thomas Farr’s career of attacks on voting rights makes clear he is must not be entrusted with a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. He is unfit to serve and the Senate must reject his nomination.”

 

Farr has a long history of representing North Carolina in legal battles with voting rights groups who accuse the state of discriminating against African-American voters. In one case, the attempts to disenfranchise voters of color was so blatant that a federal judge openly felt the regulations “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

 

Early in his career, Farr was a loyal campaign lawyer for Jesse Helms, the infamously anti-LGBTQ Senator who represented North Carolina in the Senate for thirty years and voted against the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday, among other actions.

 

Farr’s past is so viciously racist that Rev. William Barber III remarked: “Senators from both sides of the aisle must condemn the experience Mr. Farr brings with him, remarked Having practiced white supremacy for decades, Mr. Farr is not likely to withdraw. Every senator who condemned the racism on display in Charlottesville must vote to prevent it from having power in the federal judiciary.”

 

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