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NAACP Opposes Trump Judicial Appointment to U.S. District Court in N.C.


NAACP officials are calling on senators to vote against President Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr for a U.S. District Court seat serving eastern North Carolina, ahead of an expected Senate vote on the nomination. The NAACP's legal defense fund has opposed many of Trump's judicial appointments, but Tuesday singled out Farr's nomination as "truly odious."

"Farr is not just another one of Trump's conservative picks," said Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP's legal defense fund. "It's an insult to African-Americans in the Eastern District and around the country who depend on federal courts to uphold civil rights." 

Farr has served as lead counsel for North Carolina Republican lawmakers to defend redistricted voting maps and a voter ID law, both of which ultimately lost in courts for racial discrimination against voters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel filed cloture on the nomination last week to advance it toward a vote. The Senate is now expected to vote on the nomination when it reconvenes after the Thanksgiving holiday. 

North Carolina's Republican Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr support the nomination. Tillis says Farr is "well regarded across the political spectrum" and has received a high rating from the American Bar Association. Tillis also submitted letters to a Senate committee from people representing a variety of political ideologies, who he says support Farr as a "fair and reasonable jurist candidate."

Republican Senator Jeff Flake has said he will not vote on any judicial appointment until the Senate votes on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If Flake abstains, it could take two Republican senators to vote down Farr's nomination, if the vote otherwise falls along party lines.

The Eastern District seat has been vacant for more than 12 years. The Senate never voted on Farr's previous nomination by former president George W. Bush, nor two of former president Barack Obama's appointees to the seat.

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Liz Schlemmer is WUNC's Education Policy Reporter, a fellowship position supported by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. She has an M.A. from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Media & Journalism and a B.A. in history and anthropology from Indiana University.