Urban League Opposes Nomination of Thomas Farr as U.S. District Judge for Eastern District of North Carolina

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Dear Senator:
On behalf of the National Urban League and its 90 local affiliates in urban communities across 37 states, including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia, I write to express our strong opposition to the nomination of Thomas Farr as United States District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. His nomination is an open assault on the civil rights of African Americans in North Carolina and we strongly urge that you oppose his confirmation when it comes before the Senate.
Racism has no place in our justice system! Yet this is precisely what African Americans would face and live under should Thomas Farr be confirmed. Mr. Farr brings over 40-years of legal work that has been openly hostile to the civil rights of African Americans and other minorities, focusing his efforts on voter suppression and employer discrimination. As a confirmed judge, Mr. Farr would rule on cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, although he has shown an inability to be fair and impartial. Some of his most egregious anti-voting and civil rights credentials include:
  • Defending the State of North Carolina’s attempts to enact one of the most discriminatory election laws in the country, which the Fourth Circuit ruled targeted African American voters “with almost surgical precision.” 
  • Fighting for racially gerrymandered voting districts in North Carolina that would dilute the voting power of African Americans, at both state and federal levels. 
  • Championing the elimination of legal protections for employment discrimination.
  • Spending years defending businesses that have sought to discriminate against workers and consumers.
In addition, we cannot ignore the glaring absence of diversity in the Eastern District of North Carolina, given that it has never had a Black judge in the court’s 143-year history, yet includes every North Carolina county that has an African-American population of greater than 50 percent.  Had either of two excellent nominees under the previous Administration been confirmed by the Senate – Jennifer May-Parker and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, both African American women – it would have put an end to this shameful history. 
We strongly agree with the Congressional Black Caucus’ conclusion in its letter  to the Senate Judiciary Committee that “Mr. Farr has amassed a record that puts him at the forefront of an extended fight to disenfranchise African American voters in his home state of North Carolina,” and that his “…record raises serious questions regarding his commitment to equal justice under the law that disqualifies him from service on the federal bench.” The National Urban League therefore strongly urges that you vote “no” on confirming Thomas Farr to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. 
Marc H. Morial
President and CEO

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