On Wednesday, the senator reportedly hid in the Senate cloakroom for at least 45 minutes before coming forward to give his approval of Farr in a procedural vote—in fact, the deciding vote—that allowed the nomination to move forward.
Scott’s new vow to oppose the nomination in the final confirmation vote, which was expected to happen by Friday (Nov. 30), assures that Farr will not be confirmed.
The senator’s announcement prompted Senate leaders to postpone Farr’s confirmation vote.
“The NAACP is encouraged by the Senate’s decision today to postpone the vote on Thomas Farr’s nomination to the Eastern District of North Carolina. The Senate does not have the votes to confirm Farr, and it hopefully it will never will,” said a statement from the NAACP.
Farr has a long, well-known record as an architect of North Carolina’s efforts to suppress the Black vote.
Scott explained how he came to his new decision: “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. 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.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus urged him to vote against Farr for the final confirmation, McClatchy News reported.
There are good reasons for concern about Farr becoming a federal judge. He helped North Carolina create the state’s election law that was so blatantly racist that the Fourth Circuit struck it down. The court saw clearly that new rules in the law targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
Farr was also part of the team that signed a consent decree with the Justice Department in 1992 to settle a DOJ complaint that former North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms’ 1990 re-election campaign intimidated Black voters.
Helms ran against Harvey Gantt, the Black former mayor of Charlotte. Helms’ campaign sent postcards to 125,000 mostly Black eligible voters suggesting that they were ineligible to cast a ballot. It also warned that they could be prosecuted for voter fraud.