Lambda Legal: Senate Judiciary Must Set New Hearing for Federal Bench Nominees Brett Talley and Thomas Farr

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November 17, 2017

Washington, DC – Today, Lambda Legal joined the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund in calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold additional hearings on two district court nominees: Brett Talley, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and Thomas Farr, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Talley, who was already deemed “not qualified” to become a federal judge by the American Bar Association, has since made news for failing to disclose directly relevant information to the Committee. Farr appears to have misled the chamber about his role in a campaign to intimidate black voters, according to media reports. Both nominees should require new hearings on their nominations to lifetime appointments on the federal bench.

Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal, said the following:
“We did not send our Senators to Washington to be a rubber stamp for every single one of Donald Trump’s nominations to the federal bench. Each of these nominees is up for a lifetime appointment, which means they will be able to impact the rights of generations of Americans to come. While Senate Judiciary Republicans have negligently confirmed several nominees with a long history of demonstrating animus toward civil rights protections, they cannot deny and must pay attention when they have been misled by any nominee, let alone two nominees. We join the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund's call to members of the Senate Judiciary to recall Brett Talley and Thomas Farr for new hearings, and to do what we sent them to Washington to do: ensure that only the most qualified candidates with unblemished records for fairness and integrity get these lifetime appointments.”

Brett Talley is a 36-year-old attorney who failed to disclose that he is married to the chief of staff Donald Trump’s White House counsel, which vets nominees to the federal bench, and that he had authored over 16,000 online posts, including a defense of “the first KKK.” He also has never tried a case and was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association – the second of Trump’s nominees to receive this rare, non-partisan rating which prior to this administration was only given to two nominees since 1989, both of whom were not appointed to the federal bench.

Thomas Farr appears to have misled the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about his role in a campaign charged with violating African-American voters’ rights. These reports are particularly troubling in light of Farr’s anti-voting-rights record, which includes defending North Carolina’s law found to “target African Americans with surgical precision.” Farr has already been approved by the Committee and is waiting to be confirmed by the full Senate. Lambda Legal has called on his nomination to be recalled to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a new hearing.


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