Corriher: The Anti-Labor Roots of Trump’s Controversial Judicial Pick

Labor News

Under fire for his role in suppressing voting rights, Thomas Farr, Trump's pick to serve as a federal judge in North Carolina, also worked to limit workers' organizing rights. (Image is a screenshot from the C-SPAN broadcast of the September 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Farr's nomination.)

Reprinted from Facing South by Billy Corriher on January 18, 2017.

President Donald Trump nominated lawyer Thomas Farr to a lifetime seat as a federal judge in eastern North Carolina, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a vote confirming Farr this week — despite opposition from Democratic senators, labor unions, and civil rights advocates. Critics have pointed to Farr’s role in intimidation of black voters by the 1990 campaign of US Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, and his involvement in crafting a 2013 voting law in that state which a federal court said targeted “African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Besides his role in voter suppression efforts, Farr, 63, also worked for a group founded by Southern business owners with the goal of suppressing workers’ right to organize. Farr’s career as an attorney began in 1979 at the National Right to Work Foundation, the legal arm of the National Right to Work Committee, which was created in 1955 by a group that included wealthy industrialists from North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Journalist Jane Mayer’s book “Dark Money” discussed the role of the Koch brothers’ father, Fred Koch, in launching a forerunner to the Committee, which has received millions of dollars from the Koch brothers and other big business interests. …

Facing South 1/18

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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