Schumer blasts Trump judicial pick: Farr's 'one of the worst'
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerEx-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis Ex-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted as "one of the worst" a judicial pick expected to get a vote in the Senate as soon as this week.

Schumer called Thomas Farr, who President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE nominated to be a district judge, a "dyed-in-the-wool partisan with [a] particular hostility to voting rights."

"It's hard to believe President Trump nominated him. It's even harder to believe Senate Republicans are considering him again," Schumer said. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Jon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE (R-Ky.) teed up a vote on Farr and four other nominees before the chamber left for the weeklong Thanksgiving break. 

ADVERTISEMENT

But Democrats and their outside group allies have zeroed in on Farr's nomination, warning that, if confirmed, he’ll use his position as a federal judge to rule against minorities.

Schumer said on Monday that he was pleading with his Republican colleagues to oppose Farr. 

"Considering Farr's record on voting rights, on the disenfranchisement of African-American voters in particular, his nomination to the Eastern District vacancy is not just a dash of salt in the wound, it's the whole shaker," Schumer said. 

With Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.) voting against judicial nominations until he gets a vote on legislation protecting special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE, along with all of the 49 members of the Democratic caucus voting "no," Farr will only get confirmed if he can hold onto every other Republican vote and let Vice President Pence break a 50-50 tie. 
 
No other Republican has announced they will oppose Farr. Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he remained confident Farr would get confirmed, but leadership was continuing to talk with members of the caucus. 
 
Schumer questioned what "message" confirming Farr would send and predicted political backlash against Republicans in the future if they vote to put him on the bench. 
 
"I believe the Republican Party is going to have huge trouble in the future, and they'll shrug their shoulders," Schumer said. "They'll say this is political correctness. No, it isn't. It is because they tolerate things just like this. Not all, but too many." 
 
"This is our democracy. For the first time in the history of America, nasty creatures are gnawing at its roots. This tree could fall down. I hope it won't. ... But it could fall down and will be aided and abetted by those who put people like Mr. Farr on the bench," Schumer added. 
 
Part of Democrats' opposition to Farr dates back to the 1990s, when Farr defended Jesse Helms’s campaign after the Justice Department investigated it for mailing postcards to more than 120,000 North Carolinians, most of whom were black voters, suggesting they were ineligible to vote and could be prosecuted for voter fraud.

Farr — in response to questions from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account New push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee — said he was not involved in the crafting of the postcards.

“I was not aware that the cards had been sent until they had been sent and the manager of the Helms Committee received a letter about the cards from the Voting Rights Section of the United States Department of Justice. The manager of the Helms Committee then called me for legal advice,” he added in his written responses to questions from the Judiciary Committee.

Farr was also part of a group of lawyers hired to defend congressional and legislative boundaries approved by the North Carolina legislature, some of which were later struck down in federal court.