Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn expressed dire concern over Andre Mathis, one of Biden's Black judicial nominees, insinuating he was a criminal with a "rap sheet."
"He has a rap sheet with a laundry list of citations, including multiple failures to appear in court," she said at yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
"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."
And the grave crimes he committed? He received a few speeding tickets more than 10 years ago, one for going a whopping 5 mph over the speed limit, which he paid for after the tickets' deadlines had passed.
What Blackburn referred to as a rap sheet, a term for a person's criminal history that stems from the acronym for Record of Arrests and Prosecutions, was actually related to three speeding tickets Mathis got more than 10 years ago, one of which was for going 5 miles over the speed limit. His driver's license was temporarily suspended when he didn't pay them on time and did not show up to court for them.
Mathis told the committee he has never been arrested or charged with a crime. In the case of his speeding tickets, he said he simply 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, at which point he paid his tickets. …
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who joined the hearing after Blackburn's remarks, said he "almost laughed" when he learned how she described Mathis' driving record.
"I laughed with my staff that I have a rap sheet now, probably much longer than the witness's," said Booker, telling a story about his experiences as the first Black family moving into his New Jersey neighborhood as a kid.
"I was pulled over quite a few more times than [my white friends] were. We all knew what it was about," he said. "My brother and I used to think, 'If we're Black, you just prepare for being pulled over.' Sometimes I was pulled over for going 3 miles over the speed limit, for something cracked or that looked awry on my car."
Blackburn seems to have forgotten that she, too, was pulled over for a speeding ticket not too long ago, but as a Senator she "flashed her congressional pin before being let go," according to HuffPost.