Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls for Withdrawal of Petersen, Farr, and Schiff Nominations

Courts News 12.18,17

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement calling on President Trump to withdraw his nominations of Matthew Petersen to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Thomas Farr to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Damien Schiff to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims:

“Lifetime appointments to the federal courts should only be filled by those who are qualified, will act fairly and impartially, and have a record demonstrating their honesty, integrity, and respect for the rule of law. Matthew Petersen, Thomas Farr, and Damien Schiff are three judicial nominees who should not be confirmed because they clearly do not pass this important test. We urge President Trump to withdraw their nominations.

Like Brett Talley, whose nomination will be withdrawn, Farr appears to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Farr failed to disclose his involvement in a 1990 voter suppression effort in North Carolina by the Jesse Helms for Senate campaign. Schiff was a prolific blogger, writing under a pseudonym with controversial and provocative commentary, including calling Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy ‘a judicial prostitute.’ And at his hearing last week, Petersen displayed a stunning and embarrassing lack of basic knowledge of legal concepts and judicial procedures.

President Trump, Leader McConnell, and Chairman Grassley must stop their reckless and relentless rush to pack the federal courts. As we have seen with the recent examples of Talley, Jeffrey Mateer, and others, too many of Trump’s nominees are unfit to serve lifetime appointments on our federal courts. A more deliberative process, one that involves input from home state senators before a nominee is chosen and where nominees are carefully vetted and scrutinized, will ensure a more qualified judiciary.”

In October, The Leadership Conference sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to Farr. That letter is available here. In June, The Leadership Conference sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to Schiff. That letter is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit