Deroy Murdock: Reconsidering Tom Farr for the federal bench

Sen. Tim Scott will not support Thomas Farr nomination

Republican Senator Tim Scott said he will oppose one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, spiking Judge Thomas Farr’s appointment to the federal bench.

Conservative activists are disappointed with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., normally an ally. They are puzzled by his opposition to North Carolina attorney Tom Farr for a federal judgeship, owing to claims of racial bias. Even worse, these rightists are frustrated that Scott, who is black, has not spoken with several people of color whom Farr asked him to contact. These friends of Farr shower him with praise and robustly reject these charges of bigotry.

Scott told Fox News Channel’s Shannon Bream last November that he would vote for Farr. But the next day, he changed his mind. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, he wrote, “We should stop bringing candidates with questionable track records on race before the full Senate for a vote.”

“Tom’s record of accomplishment is without blemish,” 31 constitutionalist legal scholars and policy experts wrote Scott in an open letter — among them former attorney general Ed Meese; Scott’s predecessor, former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint and Tim Moore, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. “And you have damaged the reputation of someone who does not deserve to have his reputation tarnished with veiled assertions of ‘racism.’”

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Scott responded by telling McClatchy News Service that he was concerned with “serious questions about the level of involvement Mr. Farr had in the [Jesse] Helms campaign” to reelect this North Carolina Republican to the U.S. Senate, decades ago.

After meeting with the senator, Farr wrote and reminded him that the Justice Department cleared Farr of sending postcards to blacks in what critics called a vote-suppression scheme. “The 1991 DOJ memo confirms that I was not a senior official or even involved in the 1990 Helms campaign until I was contacted to provide advice on the awful card that had already been mailed.”

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