Confirmation hearings

Tim Scott will oppose controversial Trump nominee

Senator Tim Scott speaks at a podium
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Thursday that he will oppose Thomas Farr's nomination to the federal bench in North Carolina, effectively killing the controversial Trump nominee's confirmation.

The backdrop: All 49 Senate Democrats have pledged to oppose Farr’s nomination, citing his record of supporting election policies that have been labeled by federal courts as racially discriminatory. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has promised to vote against all of President Trump's judicial nominees until the Senate approves a bill aimed at shielding special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired. With that said, Scott's opposition means Farr's confirmation will fail at least 51-50 in the Senate.

Trump's judicial agenda takes center stage with House flip

Even as the races in Florida and Arizona remain too close to call, the Republicans' performance in Tuesday's elections was enough to cement their Senate majority — all but ensuring Trump's record-breaking judicial appointments will continue uninterrupted for at least the next two years.

Data: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; Note: Count includes only federal appellate and district courts; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: Advancing a judicial nomination in the Senate used to take 60 votes, but it now only requires a simple majority. Of the 84 Trump-nominated appellate and district judges confirmed by the Senate, 30 of them replaced judges nominated by a president of the opposing party. With Trump's legislative agenda likely to be stalled by a Democrat-controlled House, judicial appointments will become even more of a priority over the next two years.

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