Legislative Alert | Labor Law

Letter Opposing the Nomination of Thomas Farr

Chairman Charles Grassley
Ranking Member Diane Feinstein
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510-6050

Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:

The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Mr. Farr’s many years of practice reveal a deeply partisan record that is also anti-worker and anti-civil rights.

The AFL-CIO is very concerned about Mr. Farr’s long record of anti-civil rights litigation. Mr. Farr represented the 1990 Campaign for Helms, which was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with violating the Voting Rights Act. The complaint arose when the Senate campaign sent 125,000 postcards to primarily African American North Carolina voters suggesting they were ineligible to vote and threatened them with voter fraud if they tried to vote. The suit was settled out of court.

Mr. Farr has continued to zealously advocate anti-civil rights positions. He recently represented the Republican Party in its efforts to gerrymander the state to disenfranchise poor and black voters. He also defended the Republican Party’s enactment of a law tailored to block African American voters from the polls with burdensome new identification requirements. Despite Mr. Farr’s efforts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down the state’s voter suppression law as racially discriminatory, observing that it “target[s] African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The AFL-CIO is troubled further by Mr. Farr’s hostility to workers and working families. In Farr’s early legal career, he served as staff attorney to the anti-union National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Mr. Farr has continued to promote that organization’s values throughout his legal career. He sought to strike down a workers’ compensation law to treat workers with asbestos-related illnesses equally to others injured on the job. Farr also represented a glass company that sued to block its workers from gathering information to protect their own health. He later represented a trucking company seeking to deny the freedom of workers to organize a union. Farr also defended a waste industry company in its refusal to hire a woman driver, arguing the job was “too hard and too rough for a woman.”

Working Americans deserve an open-minded, unbiased and fair judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. As is clear from his record, Mr. Farr is far from that. The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose Thomas Farr’s nomination to the Eastern District of North Carolina.

William Samuel
Government Affairs Director