AFJ Applauds Continued Progress of Lower Court Nominations

Press Release

Press Contact

Zack Ford

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10, 2022 – This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance several judicial nominees to the full Senate. This included Andre Mathis, who is set to become the first Black man from Tennessee to serve on the Sixth Circuit, as well as three district court nominees. 

Republican members of the committee objected that Mr. Mathis was being advanced over the unreasonable objections of Tennessee’s two Republican senators. Many of those same Republican senators, however, voted for a total of 17 Trump nominees to appeals courts who were confirmed over the objections of Democratic home state senators. 

Such claims also ignore Mr. Mathis’s exceptional qualifications. He has experience with both civil and criminal federal law but has primarily represented the government and businesses in civil litigation. His pro bono work has included working with the Tennessee Innocence Project to help overturn wrongful convictions. He mentors law students at the University of Memphis and serves as a board member for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Memphis, which he participated in as a youth. 

The committee also advanced three incredibly qualified district court nominees: Hector Gonzalez to the Eastern District of New York, Fred Slaughter to the Central District of California, and Jessica Clarke to the Southern District of New York. 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“Justice Breyer’s retirement may be generating all the headlines, but the confirmation of Andre Mathis to the Sixth Circuit is just as vital to the health of our democracy. We applaud the Biden administration and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin for continuing to fill these important vacancies on our federal courts with qualified and diverse nominees.  
“Objections to Mr. Mathis’s confirmation from Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty mirror the baseless attacks we’ve heard from Senate Republicans decrying President Biden’s commitment to nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court. For purely partisan reasons, they are objecting to a Democratic president’s right to select and appoint judges in their states. We applaud Chair Durbin and the other Democratic senators for keeping these confirmations moving and look forward to that pace continuing even as a Supreme Court nominee is considered. With more than 100 vacancies remaining, it is vital that President Biden and the Senate continue the march toward filling every vacancy by 2023.”