Cheers to this Republican who just stopped a Trump judicial nominee with a history of suppressing black voters.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) this was one nomination that went too Farr.

No, that’s not a typo. Scott, a conservative Republican from the very conservative state of South Carolina helped put a stop to the nomination of Thomas Farr, who was nominated by the Trump Administration for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

“I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge,” Scott said in a statement explaining why he was opposing Trump’s pick. “This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr’s nomination.”


The controversy over Farr’s nomination stems from his work for the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) during two campaigns where an investigation alleges the campaign engaged in efforts to suppress the votes of African Americans.

Farr has denied any involvement in the incident, where 120,000 postcards were mailed to black voters, discouraging them from voting.

Every Democrat and outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) also opposed the nomination, meaning Farr had no chance of moving out of the Senate Judiciary Committee for a full vote before the Senate.

The controversies surrounding Farr aren’t limited to a pair of Senate campaigns in the 1980’s. As recently as 2013, Farr helped write North Carolina’s voter ID law, which was ruled unconstitutional for the it targeted and suppressed the black vote.

Scott's decision was met with praise from a number of Democrats and the NAACP.

Scott is hardly anyone’s progressive.  That's part of what makes his decision so newsworthy.

He received a 96 percent approval rating from the NRA in 2016, is pro-life and generally votes to support Trump’s nominees and positions, including voting in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s recent nomination to the Supreme Court.

However, he's also been working with the White House on their criminal justice reform initiative, which has earned praise from those working to change our country's sentencing laws.

So, we should commend Scott for taking the right stand on this nomination but also it begs to be pointed out that standing up against a history of alleged prejudice should not be limited to cases where the offenses were committed against people of your own race, gender or religion. It would be great if Scott, and other lawmakers like him, took a consistent stand against prejudice of all forms, especially with judicial nominees, where everyone deserves to be seen equally in the eyes of the law.

More

Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via SNL / YouTube

Christopher Walken is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He's been nominated for an Academy Award twice for best supporting actor, winning once for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and receiving a nomination for 2002's "Catch Me if You Can."

He's played memorable roles in "Annie Hall," "Pulp Fiction," "Wedding Crashers," "Batman Returns," and countless other films. He's also starred in Shakespeare on the stage and began his career as a dancer.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

popular

Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

Keep Reading Show less
popular