Brilliant. Let’s put a man on the United States Supreme Court who encourages violence toward federal judges. [http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/04/breaking-gop-senator-john-cornyn-r-tx.html]
Senators Mentioned As Possible Justices
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 19 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – If there is a Supreme Court vacancy this summer, President Bush may look no farther than the Capitol for a member of Congress who can be confirmed quickly. Past presidents have done it, more than two dozen times.
While admittedly long shots, GOP Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas are being talked up by some conservatives as possible nominees for the high court.
Seen as most likely to step down is Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who at 80 is fighting cancer. Retirement also might be attractive option for Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, 75, and John Paul Stevens, 85.
Kyl is a stalwart pro-business conservative and a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Cornyn is a former Texas Supreme Court justice and state attorney general. Both men have been at the forefront in fighting Democratic filibusters against Bush’s federal appeals court nominees.
Like all potential Supreme Court nominees — most lists of would-be candidates have at least 10 judges, lawyers or lawmakers — the senators played down their chances.
“If I was on the president’s short list, I think I would have heard about it by now,” Kyl said with a laugh.
Cornyn said, “It’s flattering, but I like my current job and I’m not looking for another one.”
Twenty-six men who served in Congress — 10 only in the Senate, 12 only in the House and four in both chambers — later joined the Supreme Court. The revolving door has turned the other way only once: David Davis resigned from the court in 1877 to represent Illinois in the Senate as an independent.
Bush has looked to Congress when filling federal court vacancies.
He picked Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Cox withdrew after California’s two Democratic senators opposed him. He is now awaiting confirmation to head the Securities and Exchange Commission
Outsiders agree that Kyl and Cornyn are less likely to be selected by Bush for a Supreme Court vacancy if Rehnquist is the first to retire.
“I would be very surprised to see a Republican senator nominated to replace Rehnquist,” said Sean Rushton of the conservative Committee for Justice. “It would make more sense to nominate a Republican senator like Cornyn to replace Sandra Day O’Connor or John Paul Stevens.”
The president would be expected to replace Rehnquist with a non-Washington conservative because senators know that pick will not change the court’s ideological balance, Rushton said. But if O’Connor or Stevens leaves, Bush could swing the court further to the right by picking either Kyl or Cornyn. Both senators are considered more conservative than O’Connor and Stevens.
They both also have the advantage of being members of “the club.” The Senate has never rejected one of its own for the high court. Senators have just emerged from a partisan deadlock over Bush’s picks for appeals courts. Choosing a conservative senator might be attractive because of “senatorial courtesy” — the idea that senators will not be overly harsh to one of their own during the confirmation process.
The downside is that, for a time, the Republicans’ 55-vote majority could shrink if Kyl is a nominee. Arizona’s Democratic governor, Janet Napolitano, probably would appoint a Democrat to replace him until the 2006 election. Of course, senatorial courtesy is never a guarantee.
Cornyn, for example, might find himself having to explain comments he made after several violent attacks on judges this year. He said he wondered whether frustration against perceived political decisions by judges “builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in violence, certainly without any justification.” Critics said his comments could incite violence against judges and the remarks could come back to haunt Cornyn.
Several years ago, former GOP Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina tried his best to scuttle former Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley Braun’ s nomination as ambassador to New Zealand, until Republican leaders made it clear they would not let him.
Former Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., had a hard time getting past Democratic senators to become Bush’s first attorney general. The Senate voted to confirm him 58-42, the narrowest margin ever for an attorney general.