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Kavanaugh 2.0: Smears Against Court Nominee Tom Farr

We learned during the fight over Justice Brett Kavanaugh that Democrats will stop at nothing to block nominees who defend the Constitution’s limits on government. Lies, smears, screams, and even crimes are the tools of their trade.

Now, the same tactics are being used to smear another nominee to the federal bench – Tom Farr from North Carolina.

Farr was appointed by President Trump for a vacancy on the United States District Court that sits in Raleigh – the site of multiple fights over election process laws and Congressional redistricting.  The seat has been vacant since 2006, the longest vacancy on the federal bench nationwide.

Farr, like Kavanaugh before him, is experiencing ritual defamation by his opponents.

Farr committed the unpardonable sin to the left: He represented the state of North Carolina in defending North Carolina's voter ID and election integrity laws. Power is too important for Farr’s foes to allow a nominee with mainstream views to be confirmed to a court so central to their litigation agenda in that swing state.

Contrary to the vast majority of Americans, Farr’s foes consider voter ID the second coming of Jim Crow. They have employed their tiresome tactic of smearing someone as a racist who is nothing of the sort.

To smear someone as a racist who is not is a wretched thing. But that didn’t stop Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) or North Carolina political activist William Barber from launching a last-second bid to scuttle Farr’s nomination.

William Barber

As a follow-up, Farr’s opponents leaked an internal confidential Department of Justice memorandum regarding the 1990 campaign of North Carolina Senator Jessie Helms. Ironically, this leaked memorandum exonerates Farr from the smears his foes intended.

I am very familiar with this memorandum from my time as an attorney at the Justice Department Voting Section. The 1990 memo was used to justify the now legally dubious case against the North Carolina Republican Party under the voter intimidation provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The Department alleged that a targeted card mailed to black voters was voter intimidation.

I have litigated every Department of Justice case under this provision of the Voting Rights Act since 2005, and the leaked memo is quite familiar to me.

The Helms defendants quickly settled the case in 1990. Since then, intervening case law and decisions by the DOJ, such as the dismissal of portions of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, call into question the viability of the theory the DOJ advanced in 1990.

The leaked confidential memo was used as a weapon inside DOJ by ideologically motivated Department lawyers, some of whom now work for left-wing advocacy groups, to advance an overly expansive approach to federal power that could intrude on some forms of political speech.