Although his confirmation was opposed by senators from his home state of Tennessee, Andre Mathis was approved by the U.S. Senate to be a Judge of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, reports Reuters.

Mathis will be the first Black man to serve in this role and just the second Black person from Tennessee to sit on the court in twenty-five years. The lone Republican to cast a vote for him was Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana.

After their August recess, the Senate reconvened and voted 48-47 in favor of Mathis in their second confirmation vote of the week. On Wednesday, the Senate also voted to elevate U.S. District Judge John Lee as the first Asian American to sit on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats are planning to confirm two more appeals court nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats are "moving forward and it will be one of our top priorities to confirm as many judges as possible," citing the need to counter "many MAGA-type judges" appointed by former President Donald Trump.

According to Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the White House failed to "meaningfully consult" with her or fellow Senator Bill Hagerty when they decided to select an "unqualified" nominee over a candidate that they supported.

Blackburn, a Senate Judiciary Committee member, was widely criticized for statements she made during Mathis' appearance before the panel in January 2022. During her remarks, she referenced Mathis’ old traffic tickets saying he had "a rap sheet with a laundry list of citations."

Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP, condemned Blackburn’s statements as "outrageous and offensive” on Twitter.

Before his confirmation, Mathis was a partner at Butler Snow, a law firm where his practice centered on “representing businesses and governmental entities with regard to contract disputes, employment litigation, internal investigations, education law, transportation litigation, premises liability, and financial services litigation.”

He’s a graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Arts and earned a Juris Doctor from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2007.

Previously, he was an associate at Glankler Brown where he worked in criminal defense law. He also was a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Western District of Tennessee and with the Tennessee Innocence Project. 

Mathis served as a member of the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee from 2010 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2020. 

From 2012 to 2013, he was also a member of the Federal Defender Evaluation Committee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.