CNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee

CNN legal analyst Laura Coates slammed Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday after the lawmaker made controversial remarks about one of President Biden’s judicial nominees, Andre Mathis, who is Black. 

During Mathis’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday, Blackburn said the nominee has a long “rap sheet,” citing traffic citations. 

“He has a rap sheet with a laundry list of citations,” she said. “In Tennessee, we expect our judges to respect the law, not disregard it. If Mr. Mathis thought he was above the law before, imagine how he will conduct himself if he is a federal judge.” 

On her show the same day, Coates said Mathis only “forgot to pay for three speeding tickets,” one of them was a citation for going 5 mph over the speed limit.

“I am an officer of the court … and I understand and appreciate being able to abide by the principles of the law,” Coates said. “But the intended humiliation disturbed me as a woman, as an attorney.”

Former NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said the senator herself was cited for a speeding ticket.

“Unbelievable. It was extraordinary painful to watch as an American and as an African-American,” he said. “Here we have the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Tennessee humiliating, denigrating, demeaning a Black man who has the opportunity to be the first Black man to serve” on that court.

During the hearing, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) who is also Black, said he has a “rap sheet probably much longer” than Mathis’s, in part because African-Americans are pulled over more often.

“Sometimes I was pulled over for going three miles per hour over the limit,” he said.

Mathis, primarily a civil litigation attorney in Memphis who was nominated by Biden in November, said he took responsibility for the citations. But the nominee said he felt he had “embarrassed” his family.

“I highly regret that I’m in this situation,” he said. “I can assure the committee I am a law-abiding citizen. I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never been charged for the crime.”