Andre Bernard Mathis is a bad brotha. He was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a lawyer who got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis in 2003 and graduated cum laude from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2007. Mathis has served on the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Western District of Tennessee and on the Sixth Circuit’s Federal Defender Evaluation Committee.
He currently works for Butler Snow LLP and has been nominated by President Biden to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Despite that long list of accolades, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) had the nerve to say she had serious concerns over Mathis’ nomination for a few reasons. According to Huffington Post, there was just one:
“He has a rap sheet with a laundry list of citations, including multiple failures to appear in court,” said the Republican senator. “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.”
Those horrible crimes? Mathis got three speeding tickets more than ten years ago, one of which was going five miles over the speed limit. Mathis explained to the committee he forgot to pay them and didn’t realize his license had been suspended until he got a notice in the mail from the Tennessee Department of Motor Vehicles. Once he received the notice, everything was paid and resolved.
“I regret that I did those things. I can assure the committee that I’m a law-abiding citizen. I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never been charged with a crime,” Mathis said at the hearing.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) gave a rebuttal to Blackburn:
“Sen. Blackburn refers to your ‘rap sheet,’ is what she called it,” Durbin said to Mathis. “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.”
“I highly regret that I’m in this situation,” Mathis said, choking up. “I feel like I’ve embarrassed my family. While I deserve this, they don’t.” It’s funny how this works, considering that Sen. Blackburn used her congressional status to get out of a traffic stop in March of 2021.
Man, stop. Some of us have overdue parking tickets and gotten speeding tickets when we were younger. I’ve probably had at least three parking tickets in college. (I paid those off, for the record). But only when you’re a Black man going for a judicial position is used as criteria to disqualify you. Is this the best you have? Current sitting representatives and past presidents have done far worse than do 60 in a 55.