The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced one of President BidenJoe BidenBillie Eilish meets with Biden at the White HouseMarjorie Taylor Greene roasted for ‘gazpacho police’ remark Biden talks energy and security with Saudi King SalmanMORE’s federal appeals court nominees over the objections of Republicans who blasted the White House for disregarding the approval of the seat’s home state senators.
Andre Mathis, a Memphis attorney who is being considered for a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, was approved in a 12-10 committee vote as Republican senators argued that the Biden administration did not offer Tennessee’s two GOP senators the courtesy of fully consulting with them on the pick.
Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnWhite House disputes reports of federal funds for crack pipesTech advocates criticize FCC nomination delaysEnough is enough: The VA must stop the manipulation and follow the law MORE (R-Tenn.) has opposed Mathis, arguing that he’s unqualified and pointing to his “rap sheet” of old traffic citations.
“When the home state senators are not consulted, we end up with an unqualified candidate,” Blackburn said Thursday.
“I do have concerns about his ability to do the job of a federal appellate judge,” she added.
Thursday’s vote made Mathis the first of Biden’s appellate nominees to advance out of committee without the approval of the home state senators. One Republican, Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyLouisiana Democrat running for US Senate smokes marijuana in campaign adMORE (La.), joined Democrats in voting to advance Mathis.
Judiciary Democrats dismissed the criticisms against Mathis as unfounded and unfair.
“Let’s be clear, Mr. Mathis is not a career criminal or a violent felon as the question implied,” Sen. Alex PadillaAlex PadillaBiden to meet with Senate Judiciary Democrats on Supreme Court vacancySenate panel advances bill targeting Apple, Google app store powerDemocrats ask for information on specialized Border Patrol teamsMORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “He has never been arrested or convicted of a crime. The underlying issue being commented on was traffic violations, traffic violations dating over a decade ago. Whether it was unintentional or intentional, questions and tones like what I heard during his hearing are demeaning, offensive and just plain wrong.”
“It’s not lost on me that nominees of color have been treated differently in our hearings,” Padilla said.
Democrats also pointed to the Senate GOP’s decision during the Trump administration to do away with the blue slip process for appellate nominees, which gave home state senators the power to block those picks in committee.
“If we had blue slips, that would not be a problem,” said Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseBiden to meet with Senate Judiciary Democrats on Supreme Court vacancySchumer faces brewing war and progressives ramp up primary threatsLobbying worldMORE (D-R.I.). “We are living today with the consequences of getting rid of the blue slip for circuit court nominees.”