The U.S. Senate’s only Black Republican senator is facing heat after voting for a controversial judicial nominee, who’s been accused of hurting Black voters.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott voted to advance the vote for Thomas Farr for the Eastern District of North Carolina on Wednesday, per CNN. Vice President Mike Pence was the tie-breaking vote, after the 50-50 vote.
All 49 Senate Democrats opposed Farr’s nomination, referencing his past support of legal measures that negatively impacted African-American voters, such as working with the with North Carolina Republican Party on the state’s congressional map, which was struck down earlier this year because of gerrymandering, writes CNN.
Outgoing Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted against Farr, staying true to his promise not to vote for any judicial nominees until a floor vote for a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.
Scott, who Democrats had hoped would join them in not voting for Farr, said that he has not made a decision on his final vote.
This was based the information I’ve been provided,” said Scott when asked why he voted in the affirmative on Wednesday.
Farr worked for former Sen. Jesse Helms and was criticized for his record on voting rights while working for the senator. The Washington Post obtained a 1991 memo that showed an outline for a campaign used by Helms’ in 1990 to discourage Black people from going to the polls, per reports.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who serves as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus told McClatchy DC in January that Farr was not the right person to serve as a judge for the district.
“He’s not colorblind when it comes to the law or his actions and the scales of justice will not be balanced with him on the bench,” said Richmond. “This is the wrong person to put on the bench, and it shows that President Trump and his racial insensitivity and his racial animus toward different communities are just unacceptable in this day and this age. There becomes a point at which time silence becomes betrayal.”