Connect to Congress: One-on-One with Sen. John Cornyn
Q- What do you hope American people learn from SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch in his hearings this week?
CORNYN: I think he’s an outstanding choice, but I think this is a great opportunity to remind ourselves what the unique role of judges in our system of government really is. There are some people who basically want him to run on a campaign platform and act like, well if you don’t answer the right way, then I’m not going to vote for you. That’s not what the role our judges are supposed to play. Judges are supposed to interpret the written constitution, written laws, and not make it up as they go along or run on a campaign, if elected, if confirmed, I’m going to do thus and so. That would really be inappropriate as prejudging some of the cases that are going to come before the court. I think, I know the judge knows that, but it’s going to be an interesting back and forth. 53
Q- Discussions among GOP leadership on having to use “nuclear option” if not enough Dems support confirmation?
CORNYN: We just don’t know what’s gonna happen because the simplest way for all of that to be resolved is if Democrats do what has traditionally happened in these judicial nominations, that’s simply provide for an up or down vote for the nominee. Filibusters of judges were unheard of really before the George W Bush administration. But our Democratic colleagues got together and they cooked up this idea that instead of 51 votes you needed 60 votes just to get confirmed. I’d like to see us return back to the pre-George W Bush days and say let’s give this judge a fair hearing and an up or down vote, and then we don’t have to worry about nuclear options.
Q- Where does GOP Health Care Plan stand, lots of Republicans in Senate opposed?
CORNYN: There’s gonna be two choices, either Obamacare, the status quo, which we know is in meltdown mode, people are seeing their premiums skyrocket, their deductibles unaffordable. So that’s one choice, or the choice will be the alternative that’s going to be voted on by the House this week. 2:23 I think we need to keep our promises, those of us who run on repeal and replace Obamacare. This is part of an ongoing process. This isn’t the end of it. But, I think, it’s a lot easier going home when you’ve told the voters that if you do this, if you elect me, then I’ll keep my promise to you. It’s a lot easier when you go home and you actually keep your promise. When you go home and you don’t, that could be a problem. 2:46
Q- Border wall is in President’s budget, are you working with him on this issue, what do you say to concerned Texans?
CORNYN: I go to the border quite a bit and recently took a couple of my colleagues – Sen. Tillis from North Carolina, Sen. Heller – just to show them what the border, our 1200 mile Texas-Mexico border actually looks like. Most of it’s private property, so if you’re going to build a structure on it, you’d have to literally condemn it using the power of eminent domain. It could take years. What’s really, the Border Patrol’s sector chief in the Rio Grande Valley Manny Padilla told is, is border security is about three things: It’s about personnel, it’s about technology, and it’s about infrastructure. And yeah there are some places where fencing and a wall, if you’d like to call it that, can be built and needs to be built in high population areas to keep people from moving across so quickly the border patrol can’t catch up with them. But I think what we need to do is look at what the objective is, which is security of the border, which I support, and to say what’s the most cost effective, most effective way to accomplish that and let the experts give us the advice. But Manny Padilla, the border sector chief of the Rio Grande Valley – who I respect – said it’s personnel, technology, infrastructure, some combination of that depending on the location. 4:12
Q- You’re a former judge, talk about SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch not being able to provide too much info to prejudge cases?
CORNYN: Part of this is going to be an education, not only the public generally about the role of a judge, but also apparently of some of our Democratic colleagues. We’re going to need to remind them what somebody like Sandra Day O’Connor or Ruth Ginsburg or other nominees who came before the court said, when they said, I’m not going to tell you how I’m going to decide cases because that would be a violation of judicial ethics. And if you think about it, if you have a case in a judge’s court and a judge has already said how he or she would decide the case before you’ve had a chance to even present it, you’d feel like, gee that’s unfair, the judge has got a closed mind. So I think he’ll handle this very well. He’s obviously a very intelligent and very articulate person, so I’m confident he’ll handle it well but I think largely we’ll have to remind some of our democratic colleagues of what other nominees did when they were before the committee. 5:24