For those of you unfamiliar with this topic, last year Scott singlehandedly torpedoed two of U.S. president Donald Trump’s judicial nominees – Ryan Bounds (who was headed to the über-liberal ninth circuit court of appeals) and Thomas Farr (who was nominated for a district court judgeship in North Carolina).
In both cases Scott – who is the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate – cited allegations of racism against the nominees as his justification for casting the deciding votes against them. And in both cases Scott waited until the last minute to raise his objections (sinking the nominees after he voted to advance their nominations).
In the case of Bounds, we believe Scott made a grievous error in judgment – not only in his vote against the nominee but in the way he handled himself throughout the process. We believe a mountain was made of a proverbial mole hill in that case, and Scott did not earn any points with his GOP colleagues for the manner in which he effectuated the last-second scuttling. In the case of Farr, we were originally more sympathetic to Scott – however, that was before we learned the real story behind the allegations he embraced in bringing down the 64-year-old attorney.
Having heard the full narrative, we believe Scott was duped (again) by Democratic senators, entrenched Washington bureaucrats and left-leaning mainstream media mouthpieces … all of whom are eager to preserve the liberal bent of the judiciary achieved and advanced under the administration of Barack Obama.
We aren’t the only ones who feel this way, either …
Earlier this week, our news outlet conducted an interview with Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) in the hopes of getting some insight into the chaotic happenings in our nation’s capital (the “shutdown,” etc.). Manning is tremendously well-connected in the nation’s capital, and was actually headed to a White House briefing when we first approached him about the interview.
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At the tail end of our conversation, Manning brought up Scott’s votes in response to a question about Trump’s trouble in getting judges confirmed – which could loom large given the health issues facing supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
“Democrats have succeeded in at least partially submarining a couple of quality conservative nominees through a whisper campaign that the nominees were racists, which caused South Carolina Senator Tim Scott to withhold his support even in one case after voting to bring him to the floor a day or two earlier,” Manning told us.
Manning seemed particularly miffed about Scott’s vote against Farr – who was accused of participating in efforts to intimidate black voters during the 1990 U.S. Senate campaign of the late Jesse Helms.
Asked to elaborate, Manning said Scott received bad information about Farr – adding that the senator needed to review the facts, meet with the former (future?) nominee and consult with his colleagues in the Senate, including newly elected judiciary committee chairman Lindsey Graham.
“I hope that he realizes that he has a unique role as the only Republican senator who is black and would proceed cautiously when racial charges are whispered in his ear by his Democrat colleagues,” Manning said. “I would hope that he shows the respect to his fellow Republicans and the GOP nominee(s) to fully evaluate any charges that will inevitably arise, speak directly with the accused and make certain that he is fully informed. In terms of Tom Farr, I hope that he will sit down in his office and have a long talk with the nominee, fully read the report, talk to his colleagues, particularly Graham who voted Farr out of the Judiciary Committee and rethink his opposition. I think that is the fair thing for him to do, and from everything I hear, he is a fair man, so that should not be seen as unreasonable.”
Manning isn’t the only one who feels this way …
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Earlier this week we spoke with Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) – an Indianapolis, Indiana-based charity that litigates for election integrity. Adams provided us with extensive background information on the allegations of racism against Farr – including an analysis of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) memo referenced by Scott in opposing the nominee. According to Adams’ analysis, the DOJ memo actually “absolves Farr from any role or responsibility” in the voter suppression efforts undertaken by the Helms campaign back in 1990.
“The DOJ noted at the time that Farr advised against the (voter suppression efforts) for multiple reasons,” Adams noted, adding that Farr “also directly challenged the legal and practical efficacy” of the Helms’ suppression initiatives.
“Scott’s opposition to Farr is built on a falsehood,” Adams concluded. “Farr had no role in the actions – and indeed advised against them – that animated Scott’s decision.”
Having examined the memo in detail, we concur with those conclusions.
According to Adams, Scott’s opposition to Trump’s judicial nominees is not only opening him up to criticism from conservatives in the Beltway – but it may soon cost him the support of influential donors.
“The unfortunate thing is some of Scott’s top financial supporters are aware of this because they are strong supporters of Farr,” Adams told us. “It was an unforced error on Scott’s part that is being keenly noted in Scott’s base of support.”
“South Carolina Republicans usually don’t fall for lies cooked up by leftist groups,” Adams added. “This time one did.”
That narrative has been advanced by numerous conservative commentators in the Beltway.
So far, there has been little opposition to Scott’s judicial votes back home in South Carolina, although we have heard some faint rumblings of discontent in recent days that could develop into more organized, audible grassroots advocacy. Scott obviously remains exceedingly popular among Republican voters in the Palmetto State, although this is clearly an issue to keep an eye on as it pits him against Trump in a state where the current president has been all but deified by the GOP electorate.
We reached out to Scott’s press office in Washington, D.C. in the hopes of incorporating their perspective into our story, but did not immediately receive a response. In the event we do hear from Scott’s office, we will update our coverage to reflect its response. Also, our microphone is available to Scott at any time he might wish to substantively address this – or any other issue.
As we noted in our original treatment of this issue, we respect Scott’s right to vote his conscience even when we disagree with him … and we would love to incorporate his perspectives on these votes into the marketplace of ideas on this particular subject.
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