Biden’s Judicial Nominee Grilled Amid Objections From GOP Home State Senators


Andre Mathis, nominee for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, testifies during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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  • Tennessee Republican senators oppose 6th Circuit nominee Andre Mathis
  • The “blue card” process is not applied for applicants to the circuit court

Jan 12 (Reuters) – Senate Republicans criticized the White House on Wednesday for failing to consult sufficiently with two GOP senators from Tennessee over President Joe Biden’s appointment of a lawyer from their state to serve on a court Federal Appeal over their objections.

Andre Mathis, a Memphis lawyer at the law firm Butler Snow, was Biden’s first appeal choice to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee which lacked the support of senators from his home state, creating a test for the president’s pressure to quickly seat judges.

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee called it “insulting” that the White House didn’t meaningfully consult with her or fellow Senator Bill Hagerty about Mathis and that they didn’t even received so-called “blue slips” to express their views on him.

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Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, acknowledged it was a mistake that Tennessee senators did not receive those blue forms, which home state senators historically had to return. for a candidate to be considered.

But Durbin said even if they had returned blue slips against Mathis, who is black, it wouldn’t have mattered because Democrats are following a policy adopted by Republicans under the Trump administration of not holding them. account of the candidates of the circuit.

It helped former Republican President Donald Trump secure confirmation for 54 circuit court nominees over his four years, including many conservative justices who were nominated over objections from state Democrats. origin.

“I think my colleagues opposite would have a hard time now demanding that Democrats restore this practice,” Durbin said.

Blackburn said she had “serious concerns” about Mathis’ experience and, along with Hagerty, had identified an alternative choice, Camille McMullen, a Democratic appointee to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals who has nearly a year. decade older than Mathis, 41. .

She also said Mathis had a “rap sheet with a long list of quotes” with speeding tickets that led to his driver’s license being suspended three times from 2008 to 2011 for failure to pay or pay. appearance in court.

Mathis regretted the tickets he forgot to pay. “I can assure the committee that I am a law-abiding citizen,” he said.

As GOP senators complained about the frustrations of their colleagues in Tennessee, Republican John Kennedy of Louisiana acknowledged that restarting the blue slips process now “would be seen as unfair to this administration.”

He urged the two sides to find a neutral way to revive the practice, which Durbin said was possible after the 2024 presidential election and “four years of trying to balance the books”.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Nathalie Raymond

Nate Raymond reports on federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at


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