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

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCongress: Americans in Puerto Rico still need our help Airbnb is doing the Democrats' dirty work Protecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress 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 TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing 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 McConnellBudowsky: Pelosi can break shutdown stalemate GOP seeks to change narrative in shutdown fight On The Money: Shutdown Day 32 | Senate to vote on dueling funding measures | GOP looks to change narrative | Dems press Trump on recalled workers | Kudlow predicts economy will 'snap back' after shutdown MORE (R-Ky.) teed up a vote on Farr and four other nominees before the chamber left for the weeklong Thanksgiving break. 

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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 FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (R-Ariz.) voting against judicial nominations until he gets a vote on legislation protecting special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 CornynGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall 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 FeinsteinGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Debate builds over making Mueller report public BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president 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.