Andre Mathis, President Joe Biden’s nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, has had his driver’s license suspended on three separate occasions, an FBI background investigation revealed.
Biden nominated Tennessee litigator Andre B. Mathis to the Sixth Circuit last November. Mathis’s confirmation hearing will occur on Wednesday, January 12.
Mathis has a history of habitual speeding, and his driver’s license was suspended on three separate occasions, according to Tennessee state records. Mathis drove on a suspended license during all three periods his license was suspended. Driving on a suspended license is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Mathis explained his three license suspensions in a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Breitbart News.
“I want to assure the Committee that I am a law-abiding citizen and my driving record is not a reflection of my character or my fitness to serve as a judge,” Mathis wrote to chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Mathis’s license was first suspended for more than a month in 2008, from April 10 to May 15, which he claims he “cannot find a mention of” after “diligently” searching his personal and formal records.
“What I can attest to, however, is that I never knowingly drove with a suspended license, and if my license was suspended at the time, upon receiving notification of that suspension, I would have taken prompt steps to rectify the matter,” Mathis added.
Tennessee records revealed his license was suspended a second time for nearly seven months between July 2010 and February 2011. According to Mathis, this suspension occurred because he “sincerely forgot” to pay a traffic citation he received in Mississippi in 2010. However, Mathis failed to appear in court for trial, which is why his license was suspended. Failure to appear in court can result in a contempt of court charge and an arrest warrant.
“My recollection is that I put the traffic citation in the glove compartment of my car, and then I sincerely forgot to pay the citation upon returning home to Tennessee,” Mathis wrote. He then explained that he paid the citation fee within a month of receiving notice of his suspension.
The third license suspension found in Mathis’s driving records lasted for roughly ten months, beginning in April 2010 until February 2011. Mathis does recall the reason for the third suspension, noting that he received a traffic citation in Alabama while traveling to visit his father.
“I do recall receiving a traffic citation in Alabama in 2009 or 2010 for driving over the speed limit,” Mathis explained. “I do not have a separate recollection of how that ticket was resolved, nor do I recall receiving a notification that my license was suspended as a result.”
Mathis also failed to appear for his Alabama court date, resulting in the suspension. Traffic violations are generally considered criminal misdemeanor offenses in Alabama, and when someone does not appear in court, they are in criminal contempt of court and the court may suspend the license, issue a fee, and/or issue an arrest warrant.
“I am not disputing what the record indicates about this license suspension in Alabama, but honestly do not recall receiving any notification about it—and would have taken any such notification very seriously,” he added.
Mathis finished his letter to the committee by emphasizing his “ultimate respect for the courts and the judicial process.”
“I strive every day to model conduct and ethical standards that reflect the privileged position I hold as an officer of the court,” he wrote. “I can assure the Committee that, going forward, I will maintain a positive driving record and be a role model for my community in all respects.”
Mathis’s confirmation is likely to face opposition from Tennessee’s two Republican senators, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty. If confirmed, Mathis would be Biden’s first judicial appointment in a state represented by two Republican senators.
FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, whose company is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, wrote in support of Mathis to Sens. Blackburn and Hagerty.
Andre Mathis–nominated for the 6th Circuit Tennessee seat–would be Biden's first judge for a red state.
Sens Blackburn and Hagerty are likely to oppose the nomination but he's got support at home…including from FedEx CEO Frederick Smith (company's hub is in Memphis). pic.twitter.com/T2DnwYVnX0
— Megan Mineiro (@meganmineiro) January 11, 2022
“It is with great pleasure that I write to you both to solicit your support, advice, and consent to the nomination of Andre B. Mathis to the bench of the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals,” Smith wrote. “Andre first came to my attention while still an associate lawyer at my personal law firm, Glankler Brown, PLLC.”
“Andre personally performed legal services for members of my family and his work was excellent in all respects. I was quite impressed with his abilities at the time and was pleased to see that he had been nominated for such a prestigious position,” Smith added.
Biden’s White House defended Mathis in light of his driving history controversy, telling Fox News:
President Biden is proud to have chosen Andre Mathis, who was just rated “Unanimous Well Qualified” by the American Bar Association and whose nomination to be the first Black man to serve on the Sixth Circuit from Tennessee has been endorsed by individuals from all walks of life and across the political spectrum, including prominent business leaders, civil rights organizations, and the University of Memphis School of Law. We look forward to his confirmation to the Sixth Circuit, where he will continue to make the Memphis community very proud.
Mathis is a Memphis native. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Memphis in 2003 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2007. He is currently a partner at the law firm Butler Snow LLP.