A lawyer who defended North Carolina’s discriminatory voter ID law moved closer to becoming a U.S. District judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
In a party line vote on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 9 to support the nomination of Thomas Farr, despite strong opposition from the Congressional Black Caucus and civil right groups, WUNC radio reports.
Farr’s nomination now goes for a confirmation vote in the full Senate, which the GOP controls. He could soon be in charge of voting rights decisions.
On Sep. 19, the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to Judiciary Committee leaders explaining their opposition.
“Mr. Farr has amassed a record that puts him at the forefront of an extended fight to disenfranchise African-American voters in his home state of North Carolina,” the letter stated.
The labor and constitutional law attorney led the effort to defend North Carolina’s gerrymandered districts that helped to expand Republican majorities. He also defended the state’s 2013 voting law that required residents to obtain government photo IDs to cast a ballot, as well as other rules set up as barriers to voter registration.
If confirmed, he will fill a post that has been vacant for nearly 12 years. President George W. Bush nominated him, but the committee did not vote on his nomination before Bush’s term ended. President Barack Obama nominated two Black females to fill the vacancy. However, Republicans blocked his attempts to fill the position.