Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who last year defied his party’s leaders and derailed a federal judgeship for Thomas Farr, is resisting pressure from fellow conservatives to change his mind and reiterated his opposition to putting Farr on the bench because of concerns about the North Carolinian’s record on racial issues.
Scott torpedoed Farr’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina last November after a leaked memo revealed the nominee’s role in a racist voter suppression scheme during the 1984 and 1990 campaigns of the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).
Despite the political embarrassment of thwarted nomination, Farr’s backers want President Donald Trump to again submit his name for Senate confirmation to the judgeship in the new session of Congress. And in a letter to Scott earlier this week, 31 conservative leaders urged him to reverse himself, given that his stance on Farr could prove crucial to whether Trump follows through with a renomination.
“In these difficult days, when allegations of racism are carelessly, and all too often deliberately, thrown about without foundation, the result is not racial healing, but greater racial polarization,” they wrote in the letter obtained by the McClatchy News Service. “Joining with those who taunt every political opponent a ‘racist’ as a partisan political tactic to destroy their reputations is not helpful to the cause of reconciliation.”
Those signing the letter include Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, who served under President Ronald Reagan, and an array of North Carolina GOP leaders.
Scott met with Farr on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, but did not change his mind, McClatchy reported. And he offered a fiery response to the news outlet to the letter from the conservatives. From the story:
“Why they have chosen to expend so much energy on this particular nomination I do not know, but what I do know is they have not spent anywhere near as much time on true racial reconciliation efforts, decrying comments by those like (Republican U.S. Rep.) Steve King, or working to move our party together towards a stronger, more unified future,” Scott continued, referring to the Iowa congressman who recently suggested he was sympathetic to white supremacists in a New York Times interview.
Scott, noting that he supports Republican judicial nominees the vast majority of the time, also said that “for some reason the authors of this letter choose to ignore ... facts.”
Earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) met with White House officials to discuss controversial court picks that Trump may make, including Farr. The White House hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Farr again being nominated.