RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A U.S. Senate committee is deciding whether a North Carolina lawyer with a career of defending Republican causes in voting rights and redistricting litigation should become a federal judge.

The Senate Judiciary Committee planned to hold a confirmation vote Thursday for Raleigh attorney Tom Farr, who was nominated by President Donald Trump and has the backing of both of North Carolina's senators. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis say Farr is widely respected and points to his "well-qualified" rating from the American Bar Association. The full Senate also would have to vote.

National and state civil rights activists are urging committee members to reject Farr's nomination, pointing to his past representation of the late Sen. Jesse Helms' campaign and defending a state law requiring photo identification to vote.