Tim Scott

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a panel discussion at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 2018.

Last year, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., torpedoed the nomination of Thomas Farr to a U.S. district court seat in North Carolina after questions emerged about how much Farr knew about a decades-old effort to disenfranchise black voters.

A meeting between the two men on Wednesday didn't change how Scott sees things.

Scott, the sole black Republican in the Senate, issued a statement questioning why Farr's conservative allies continue to push President Donald Trump to renominate him to the federal bench.

"Why they have chosen to expend so much energy on this particular nomination I do not know, but what I do know is they have not spent anywhere near as much time on true racial reconciliation efforts, decrying comments by those like Steve King, or working to move our party together towards a stronger, more unified future," Scott said in a statement to McClatchy.

Rep. King, R-Iowa, questioned in a recent New York Times interview whether the term "white supremacist" is offensive.

Farr's history on race, particularly his involvement in a controversial "ballot security" campaign, became a central issue in last year's confirmation battle.

Farr was a lawyer for the campaign of Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., in 1990, when it mailed postcards that the Justice Department later said were sent to intimidate black voters from going to the polls.

Farr consistently denied knowing about the postcards in advance and told senators he was "appalled" when he found out about them. But Scott's doubts persisted.

His opposition was sufficient to derail Farr's nomination in a closely divided Senate in which all 49 members of the Democratic caucus opposed Farr, along with then-Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Flake was seeking to block all judicial nominees because of an unrelated issue.

Given Republican pickups in the Senate in November's election, Farr could have a different fate this year if renominated by Trump.

Scott took the meeting Wednesday with Farr as a courtesy to Farr ally Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C, according to a McClatchy report.

Earlier this week, a group of conservative leaders, activists, elected officials and attorneys sent a memo to Scott in Farr's defense, urging the senator to reconsider his position.

The letter said Farr was the victim of a smear campaign started by "unprincipled left-wing activists."

"In these difficult days, when allegations of racism are carelessly, and all too often deliberately, thrown about without foundation, the result is not racial healing, but greater racial polarization," the letter said. "Joining with those who taunt every political opponent a 'racist' as a partisan political tactic to destroy their reputations is not helpful to the cause of reconciliation."

In his statement, Scott said the letter-writers were ignoring facts and instead implying "that I have been co-opted by the left and am incapable of my own decision making."

The Washington Post's Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.


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