The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Andre B. Mathis, a judicial appointee for the U.S. Sixth Circuit and during that hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) used some racially-charged language.
Mathis, who is Black, had his license briefly suspended after he forgot to pay speeding tickets 10 years ago when he was in his 20s. One of the speeding tickets was from him driving five miles per hour over the speed limit.
Blackburn called this an example of Mathis having a "rap sheet," the term used to list arrests and convictions of a criminal history. Traffic violations for speeding typically don't garner arrests.
"If speeding tickets are a rap sheet, I've got one too," said chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Mathis got choked up when responding to Blackburn, saying that he was embarrassed by the 10-plus-year-old traffic violations and apologized to his family for the embarrassment.
Huffington Post congressional reporter Jen Bendery called Blackburn's speeding ticket rant "unnecessarily humiliating."
This focus on Mathis' unpaid speeding tickets from 10+ years ago seems unnecessarily humiliating.— Jennifer Bendery (@Jennifer Bendery) 1642001447
Bendery also noted that it was an odd question coming from Blackburn, who just last year, was allegedly speeding down Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C. as the members were released on a recess. Capitol police pulled her over, CNN.com reported. According to a source familiar with the incident, Blackburn jumped out of the car, identified herself as a U.S. Senator, flashed her member's pin and the officer let her go.
Leo Kowalski, an aide to Blackburn, text-messaged his friends that when being pulled over, Blackburn "hopped out, flashed her pin, hopped back in the car [and] said 'drive!' Officer didn't say a word, just shook his head." Blackburn wasn't driving at the time. The incident occured March 2021, where the three tickets for Mathis happened before Blackburn was in the U.S. Senate.
The Capitol Police says that it has no record of the incident, but Blackburn's office confirmed the incident when questioned.
In the same Mathis hearing, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told the Black nominee that Denzel Washington, "is one of the five coolest people on the planet."
You can see the hearing in the video below:
Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing For Key Biden Nominee www.youtube.com
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