Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott just did what Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins has never done: Dare to oppose one of Donald Trump’s nominees for the federal courts. It’s disappointing that Collins couldn’t do it first.

Collins is suggesting she might reconsider her support for Thomas Farr based on a newly revealed Justice Department memo that implicates him in voter suppression. Of course she should reconsider. But she should have already been against him, and it’s outrageous that she ever voted to advance his nomination in the first place.

Even before the memo, it was clear that Farr has had a long career of aiding and abetting racism. In the 1990s, he worked for outspoken segregationist Sen. Jesse Helms. In 2011, he was a defense lawyer for racial gerrymandering. In 2013, he defended strict voter ID laws that the courts said were targeted against African-Americans. Yet Collins voted to advance his nomination and was poised to confirm him to a lifetime appointment.

Collins said Farr had assured her in a private meeting that he had no prior knowledge of the voter suppression. Apparently, she believed him. Thankfully, Scott doesn’t.

Unfortunately, this is what we’ve come to expect from Collins. Despite a slew of Trump’s questionable judicial nominees, never once has she voted “no.” In addition to Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, she has voted for every one of Trump’s 89 other confirmed federal judges.

Trump received less than 45 percent of Maine’s vote in 2016. Confirming 100 percent of his judicial nominees is not a faithful way to represent our state. Collins should stop green-lighting Trump’s extreme judicial agenda and start thinking for herself. At the very least, she should think for the disappointed Mainers she’s supposed to represent.

We want senators who dare to oppose bad judges from day one.

Charles Skold


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