Democrats Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum are calling on the US Senate to reject President Donald Trump’s nomination of a federal judge in North Carolina, saying he supported measures that they say disenfranchise African-American voters.
“Thomas Farr’s record of hostility and disregard for fundamental civil rights disqualifies him for a lifetime appointment that will allow him to codify his discriminatory ideology into law,” Abrams and Gillums, who are both African-American, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We call on all U.S. Senators who revere our democracy – who put that democracy above party loyalty – to reject this nomination and deny Thomas Farr the platform to continue his crusade against voting rights,” the two said.
Abrams and Gillum, who lost in their respective bids to be the governors of Georgia and Florida, argued that North Carolina’s Eastern District should be “represented by a Bench that respects its diversity, not one that actively works to disenfranchise them.”
Abrams accused her opponent, Brian Kemp, who was overseeing the Georgia gubernatorial election as secretary of state, of voter disenfranchisement and suppression, and the Florida gubernatorial race was marked by racially charged rhetoric.
Both Abrams and Gillum vowed after conceding their races to defend voters rights.
All 49 Senate Democrats have come out against Farr’s nomination, which was announced by Trump last July. They cite his role providing legal counsel to the North Carolina Republican Party on the state’s congressional map, which was struck down this year as a partisan gerrymander. They also point to him representing North Carolina in a challenge to the state’s 2013 voting law, which included a controversial voter ID provision that a federal appeals court deemed was enacted “with racially discriminatory intent” and targeted black voters.
They also oppose his legal work for the 1990 campaign of former conservative North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, which was accused of sending misleading mailings to African-Americans. In an written answer to California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Farr declined providing any counsel on the postcards, nor any knowledge or role in drafting and sending them.
The NAACP is also vehemently opposed to Farr’s nomination, calling Farr the “vote-suppressor-in-chief” and his nomination a “slap in the face to communities of color everywhere.”
Republican leaders said they are confident Farr will be confirmed when a vote takes place this week and insist Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky would not have scheduled a Senate vote without knowing the outcome.
In an op-ed for The Hill, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina defended Farr, writing that he is the subject of a “dishonest smear campaign.”
Democrats can count on at least one Republican senator to join their “no” votes: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has threatened to oppose all judges until he gets a vote on a bill protecting special counsel Robert Mueller.
CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.