Controversial Trump judicial nominee goes down in flames

In a surprise defeat for Trump, a North Carolina lawyer bitterly opposed by civil rights groups and the Black Congressional Caucus will not become a federal judge after all.

Throughout his career, Thomas Farr, 64, has worked aggressively to keep his state’s black citizens from voting. He authored a voter ID law that targeted black voters “with surgical precision” in 2013, and defended a racial gerrymandering scheme in court in 2015. Both were struck down by federal courts as discriminatory.

He also was involved in vote suppression efforts on behalf of the late Sen. Jesse Helms’ 1984 and 1990 campaigns, and was accused by Democrats of lying to the Senate about that involvement. Helms, who died in 2008, was a racist arch-conservative who opposed civil rights, disability rights, gay rights, and abortion rights.

Trump nominated Farr nearly a year ago for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and looked set to be confirmed, until Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) joined Sen. Jeff Flake (R-NV) in opposing the nomination along with all 49 Democrats and independents. That gave Farr’s opponents the necessary 51 votes to defeat the nomination if it came to a vote. Scott is the GOP’s only black senator.

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