Tim Scott: Stop giving court picks with 'questionable track records on race' a Senate vote

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottLobbying world Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Trump ready to make McConnell's life miserable MORE (R-S.C.) said leadership should stop giving judicial nominees a vote before the full Senate if they have "questionable track records on race."

Scott, in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, said the publication tried to "deflect concerns" about Thomas Farr's nomination to be a judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina after they argued in an editorial that Democrats would see Farr's defeat as a "vindication of their most underhanded and inflammatory racial tactics."


“While you are right that his nomination should be seen through a wider lens, the solution isn’t simply to decry ‘racial attacks.’ Instead, we should stop bringing candidates with questionable track records on race before the full Senate for a vote,” Scott wrote.

Scott announced last month that he would oppose Farr’s nomination. With all Democrats and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Tanden's path to confirmation looks increasingly untenable On The Money: What's next for Neera Tanden's nomination MORE (R-Ariz.) expected to vote against him, Scott’s opposition denied Farr the 50 votes he needed to let Vice President Pence break a tie and be confirmed.

Scott, when he announced his opposition, pointed to a 1990s Justice Department investigation into Jesse Helm's Senate campaign 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.

The Washington Post published a memo last month that outlined the Justice Department's case. Scott cited the memo as influential to his decision to oppose Farr, who has said he wasn’t involved in crafting the postcards.

It’s not the first time Scott has sunk one of Trump’s judicial nominee. He also said he would not support Ryan Bounds’s nomination to be a circuit judge over concerns about controversial college writings that voiced skepticism about race-focused groups and questioned the need for diversity training.

Scott, the only black Republican senator, has talked openly about his own experiences since coming to Washington, including a dramatic 2016 floor speech in which he acknowledged he had been targeted by the Capitol Police because of his race.

Scott has also urged his party to improve how it approaches race relations.

Shortly before he announced his opposition to Farr, he warned that Republicans were missing “obvious potholes” on race. He added in his Wall Street Journal letter to the editor that Republicans “must strive to do better.”

“We can build on the momentum of opportunity zones and criminal-justice reform to show we are serious about tackling real issues facing people of color. I know conservative solutions can transform lives, but if folks don’t trust us, implementing those solutions becomes impossible,” Scott wrote in the Wall Street Journal letter to the editor.

The South Carolina senator added that while the country has made “significant progress” combating racism, “there is no doubt we still have work left to do.”