WaPo Editorial Board Takes on Thomas Farr Again; Thom Tillis Spox Defends Him, Calling the INDY a “Left-Wing Blog” | News
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Monday, December 18, 2017

WaPo Editorial Board Takes on Thomas Farr Again; Thom Tillis Spox Defends Him, Calling the INDY a “Left-Wing Blog”

Posted by on Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 7:25 PM

More calls are coming for the Senate Judiciary Committee to reexamine its approval of Raleigh attorney Thomas Farr to the federal bench in the district court of eastern North Carolina. As the INDY first reported, Farr told the committee that he had not been involved with a 1990 voter-suppression case in which the Jesse Helms campaign, for whom Farr worked, sought to intimidate black voters through a postcard campaign.

However, Gerald Herbert, a former Department of Justice attorney who worked the case, told the INDY that Farr was actually involved in planning that campaign—which, if true, means he misled the committee and could imperil his nomination.

Farr, nominated by President Trump, responded to written questions from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, that he knew nothing about the postcards in advance. Hebert has said Farr took part in planning meetings about the cards. A 1992 federal consent decree said the mailings were designed to discourage black voters in the U.S. Senate race between Helms and former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, who is African American.

On Sunday, The Washington Post editorial board again urged that Farr not be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate. Today, WRAL’s Thomas Fain posted on Twitter that, when asked about Farr’s statements, a spokesperson for Senator Thom Tillis said Farr was the victim of a “baseless claim posted on a left-wing blog.” (Say what you want about the newspaper’s politics, but, as Fain pointed out, we’re a bit more than a blog.) Tillis’s spokesperson also provided a letter from GOP operative Carter Wrenn stating that Farr didn’t see the postcards before they went out—the same thing Wrenn told the INDY last month.


Meanwhile, Vanita Gupta, the former acting head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division under President Obama, also called Monday for Farr's withdrawal following the withdrawal of Matthew Peterson, another Trump nominee, after Peterson couldn't answer basic questions on legal procedure during hearings last week.

"Good," tweeted Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "Now the nominations of Thomas Farr and [fellow Trump nominee] Damien Schiff must be withdrawn as well."


Farr's nomination passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote. As of Monday, no vote by the full Senate had been announced. Farr has not responded to repeated efforts by the INDY to reach him for comment.

The INDY first reported apparent discrepancies in Farr's testimony on November 15. The Post editorialized against Farr on November 26 and again Sunday. The latest editorial urges the Judiciary Committee to reexamine several of Trump's federal appeals and district court nominees.

"The committee can start by calling back Thomas Farr, the nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, to explain discrepancies regarding his knowledge of a voter-suppression effort by then-Sen. Jesse Helms’s 1990 campaign," the editorial board members wrote. 


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