GOP senator helps confirm Black Biden judicial nominee after his colleague's racist attack
Senator John Kennedy during a hearing. (MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP)

On Thursday, POLITICO reported that Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) broke ranks with his Republican colleagues to help confirm Andre Mathis to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit — the first Black man to be confirmed to that court in nearly a quarter century.

"Mathis did so by one vote, clearing the Senate 48-47 with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) breaking from his party to give the nominee the votes," said the report. "If Mathis' nomination failed, Democrats would've had to bring it up again — burning valuable floor time during a time crunch before the midterms."

The report continued: "When asked why he voted for the Biden-appointed nominee, Kennedy told reporters: 'He did a great job in committee, in my opinion. He's a partner at Butler Snow, which is a major national law firm. The criminal record that they talked about, that he forgot to face some traffic tickets, when they contacted him about it through a warrant, he just said, 'It's true, I forgot to pay them,' and he paid up, but I just didn't think that was disqualifying."

Mathis' unpaid traffic tickets were a point of contention for other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) provoked controversy when she interrogated Mathis over the tickets, referring to them as a "rap sheet."

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Couy Griffin attends Otero County Commission meeting as a member of the public after his ouster

"The conservative Kennedy rarely diverges from his party," noted the report. "His vote only proved decisive with three Democratic senators out of office due to Covid — Sens. Jon Ossoff (Ga.), Jacky Rosen (Nev.), and Bob Menendez (N.J.) — but Kennedy still manages to occasionally surprise Senate watchers. He's voted with Democrats against a former judicial nominee appointed by Donald Trump, in favor of a net neutrality bill and for an amendment to cap the price of insulin at $35."

This comes as President Joe Biden confirms judicial nominees at a lighting-fast rate. As of August, he had more federal judges confirmed than any president since John F. Kennedy — which could allow him to leave a legacy on the federal bench even if Republicans take control of the Senate in the midterms, which would give him significantly less freedom over his appointments.

NOW WATCH: Steve Bannon's 'sham effort to build a wall' results in indictment after $15 million stolen

Steve Bannon's 'sham effort to build a wall' results in indictment after $15 million stolen www.youtube.com