Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cornyn: Judicial background both essential and unnecessary for SCOTUS nominees

In recent years I've shared concerns of those who say all the sitting US Supreme Court Justices' biographies look too much alike. My own preference for a new Justice would have been to select someone outside the judiciary who came from outside the Ivy League: Somebody in the Sandra Day O'Connor mold, perhaps (she was a Stanford graduate and a state senator from Arizona before her appointment to SCOTUS). In Elena Kagan, I get one out of two - a non-jurist who is a former Dean of Harvard Law School.

I know very little about Ms. Kagan, but given my own druthers regarding diversity on the court (of views and experience, in particular, more than race and gender), I find complaints about Kagan's lack of judicial background a little silly. They're even more absurd when coming from people who took the opposite view when it was politically expedient. One of the worst offenders on that score is US Sen. John Cornyn. Rick Casey at the Houston Chronicle points out that Cornyn:

isn't a stickler for previous judicial experience in Supreme Court nominees.

“Although she has no prior judicial experience, this was true for nearly 40 percent of the men and women who have served as Supreme Court justices,” he said.

Oh, wait. He said that in 2005 regarding Harriet Miers, President George W. Bush's former White House counsel and unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee. I guess Cornyn isn't as impressed with Wallace Jefferson as I am, because he's since changed his mind.

“Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience,” he said this week. “Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice.” (I'm indebted to the Dallas Morning News for spotting Cornyn's evolution over the past five years.)

If most Americans do believe that, then Texas voters may be mildly un-American, at least when it comes to voting for members of our own “supreme court” for criminal cases.

Five of the nine members of the Court of Criminal Appeals list no prior judicial experience in their official biographies.

That's pretty crass, don't you think?

See SCOTUSBlog for ongoing coverage of the nomination.

1 comment:

john said...

"Our" U.S. Senator John Cornyn was just the next neo-con-Republican Party shill RINO---who else can afford to get/be put in office?
Come last election time he had on a cowboy hat sitting in the pasture.
I think he's less a burned-out corn-flake than Hutchison, but that's not saying much. (Surely he'll run for presidink, soon, like most Senators.)
The U.S. House Republicans have been voting with Ron Paul since last fall---unheard of!---because they at least are up for election every time. The Senators needn't worry.
It doesn't matter you're a liberal OR a conservative (or a libertarian, for that matter), YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED, anymore. So buddy up, pay up and lobby & donate freely, if you want any electronic-voting-machine/ campaign finance reform-free pie. Today's two-Party system is neo-con vs. leftist, the right & left hands of the robber-baron banker-owned one-world New World Odor. We can "vote the rascals out" all we want. Congress fiddles while we burn. No waiting.