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Cornyn: Court nominees should come from all over

By Ken Stickney


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Thursday that while he admires Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s experience and judicial, he is troubled nonetheless that more Texans or others from America’s heartland aren’t considered for the high court.

In a morning conference call with Texas reporters, Cornyn, a Texas Republican who serves on the Judiciary Committee, responded to a Port Arthur News question about the Supreme Court’s composition, which includes mostly Easterners and Ivy League educated lawyers.

“Bluntly, yes,” he responded when asked if the scarcity of high court nominees from Texas troubled him. He said the court “ought to represent different regions” and “different backgrounds in the legal profession.”

“I, for one, would like to see more people from around the country,” he said.

He said Kavanaugh, a federal judge since 2006, meets the standard of experience on the bench and that his judicial philosophy — interpreting the law as written instead of “writing it” from the bench — makes him an attractive nominee.

He described Kavanaugh, who was born in Washington, D.C., reared in Maryland and educated at Yale, as “not a policymaker wearing robes.”

For Cornyn, the Kavanaugh nomination is the sixth he’s been involved with while a U.S. senator. He said his familiarity with Kavanaugh goes back to his time as attorney general, when Cornyn was Texas’ attorney general and preparing to present a case to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh assisted him with the preparation.

From the outset of the nomination, Cornyn has spoken highly of Kavanaugh. Republicans are attempting to vote on the nominee by October, while they hold a majority in the Senate, and before November elections.

Cornyn noted that some million documents related to Kavanaugh’s work as a member of the prosecution team regarding Bill Clinton, his work in the George W. Bush White House and his service as a federal judge since 2006 dwarfs any paper review ever done on any previous nominee. He referred to it as “the Great Paper Chase,” but said he is “hopeful” the nomination will come to a vote in the fall.

“That’s quite an impressive stack,” Cornyn said of the documents proposed for review. “That’s many more multiples of papers than ever in the past.”

But, he noted Thursday, “a vacancy on the Supreme Court is as big as it gets.”

On other topics, Kavanaugh said:

  • The $717 billion defense bill, sent from the Senate to President Trump this week, has some benefits for Texas. It includes the largest pay raise for the military in a decade. Some 1 in 10 Americans in the military call Texas home.
  • It’s unnecessary to shut down the government in order to provide border security. Cornyn said a coordinated system along the U.S.-Mexico border would include a wall in some places, technological innovation elsewhere. He said it is necessary to protect the border vigorously in order to slow down heroin imports and human trafficking. While the president is “frustrated” by the issue, Cornyn said, Democrats who are opposing all funding for the wall will likely “cave.”