In the ongoing fight over the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., went out of his way to say — on the Senate floor — that Farr’s nomination means that the entire Republican Party is racist.
Following a long, rambling speech discussing the history of Jim Crow voting laws and speciously tying those to today’s voter ID legislation, which Farr defended in court, Durbin asked: “Why would this Senate stand and give Mr. Thomas Farr a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in North Carolina? What does that say about the majority in the Senate, that we would give this man, with his personal history and vote suppression, this opportunity?”
“The reality is this, and it’s a grim reality,” he went on. “I believe the Republican Party has decided that demographics are not on their side, that the emerging minorities in the United States of America are not likely to vote their way. And so they have embarked on a national program to limit the rights of people to vote, a national program which I find disgusting.”
“Back in the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, it was the Democratic Party which I belong to, which unfortunately was the home for many of this, these bigots and many efforts of voter suppression,” he concluded. “Today, sadly, it is the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, which is trying to suppress the vote of African-Americans with many overt and covert efforts.”
Following his floor speech, he took to Twitter to further drive home his point:
Thomas Farr is an architect of voter suppression. His hostility toward minority voters and attempts to disenfranchise African Americans in North Carolina should disqualify him from serving on the federal bench. https://t.co/R7L0kNIgqF
— Dick Durbin (@DickDurbin) November 27, 2018
The core of Durbin’s comments is nothing new. Democrats have called voter ID laws, cherry-picked examples of gerrymandered congressional districts, and anything that might in any way make voter fraud more difficult racist for years. But it’s not every day that you hear a sitting senator outright call every single member of his political opposition racist over a judicial nominee on the Senate floor. At least not yet.