Far-right Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is facing backlash for her opposition to one of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.
This week, Senate Judiciary Committee members considered Biden's nomination of lawyer Andre Mathis to serve on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. As Mathis testified before the committee, Blackburn said she wouldn't support his nomination due to a "rap sheet" of traffic citations.
Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing For Key Biden Nominee youtu.be
"It has been made public that [Mathis] has a rap sheet with a laundry list of citations, including multiple failures to appear in court. In Tennessee, we expect our judges to respect the law. If Mr. Mathis thought he was above the law before, imagine how he’ll conduct himself if he’s confirmed as a federal judge.”
That "rap sheet" with a "laundry list of citations" amounts to three traffic tickets more than a decade old, including one for driving just five miles above the speed limit. Mathis initially failed to pay them, assuring the committee he'd simply forgotten to do so, until his license was suspended, whereupon he paid the tickets. He has never been arrested or charged with a crime.
Later in the hearing, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin defended Mathis, saying:
“Senator Blackburn refers to your ‘rap sheet,’ is what she called it. Well, if speeding tickets are a rap sheet, I’ve got one too. I never got a speeding ticket for driving 5 miles over the limit, which apparently is one of your tickets. ... We’ve all I think been guilty of that sin and perhaps all have a rap sheet that’s over 6 miles or more.”
Durbin then gave a visibly emotional Mathis a chance to explain:
“I highly regret that I’m in this situation. I feel like I’ve embarrassed my family. While I deserve this, they don’t.”
Interestingly enough, just last year, a car that Blackburn was in got pulled over for a traffic violation, but was released after the Senator showed police her congressional pin.
The Senator's skepticism of Mathis' backfired online, with many noting the racist implication that a Black judicial nominee's three decade-old traffic tickets amounts to a "rap sheet" indicating he doesn't "respect the law."
Others accused Blackburn of hypocrisy.
Biden's supporters have praised the President's historically diverse judicial nominations.