Tim Scott

Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) has announced he will not vote to confirm Thomas Farr to the federal judiciary, effectively killing his nomination.

CNN reporter Ana Cabrera broke the news on her Twitter account Thursday evening.

Sen. Scott, the lone black Republican in the U.S. Senate, was considered the last holdout on Farr’s nomination to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina — a position that’s been vacant for more than a decade. While he voted for cloture Wednesday to advance Farr’s nomination to the full senate floor (with the help of Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaker vote), his commitment to voting “no,” in addition to Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), means Farr will not have enough votes to be confirmed with all other 49 Senate Democrats (and the two independents who caucus with the Democrats) united in opposition.

Tim Scott voting against Farr is typically uncharacteristic of the South Carolina Republican. FiveThirtyEight found that since President Trump took office, Tim Scott has voted in line with Trump’s policies more than 96 percent of the time. Scott’s Trump score is even higher than that of vocal Trump supporter Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who votes in line with Trump 89 percent of the time. According to FiveThirtyEight, the last time Scott voted against Trump’s wishes was in July of 2017, when Sen. Scott voted in favor of additional sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

The opposition to Thomas Farr’s nomination came from his previous work representing Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina, defending their redistricting efforts and voter ID law in court. A federal judge with the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals later struck down both their gerrymandered map and the voter ID law, saying both were done with intent to disenfranchise black voters “with almost surgical precision.

North Carolina Republicans were so proud of the job their voter ID law did to disenfranchise African Americans that they circulated a press release bragging about early voter turnout for black voters decreasing in 2016. An independent study by North Carolina-based data analysis firm InsightUs found that Republican officials’ closure of polling places in predominantly black communities did more to depress black voter turnout than even Hurricane Matthew.


Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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