Wow, being on the opposition for a change really seems to have exhilarated my esteemed US Senator, Big Bad John Cornyn lately, hasn’t it?
For years, the state’s Republican senators screened applicants for lifetime spots on the federal bench in Texas and for powerful U.S. attorney posts. As recently as last week, they refused to cede that prerogative and claimed the administration was behind them.
That left Texas Democrats – the third-largest delegation of Democrats on Capitol Hill – steamed enough to summon the president’s top lawyer, Greg Craig, and insist on public reassurance that Democrats get to pick judges under a Democratic administration.
After he got an earful for 75 minutes Monday, his office issued a clarification.
“No federal judge, U.S. attorney or U.S. marshal will be nominated by the president … unless that person has the confirmed support of the Texas Democratic delegation,” the White House said Tuesday.
Thus ended a test of wills that has played out for two months in meetings between Craig and the dozen House Democrats from Texas, and between Craig and Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.
“The day that we elect a Democrat to the United States Senate in Texas, they are entitled to function as they would with a Democratic president,” he said Thursday. “I’m not going to delegate my responsibility to anybody else.”
But see, it’s all okay because his heart’s in the right place: Cornyn stressed his vigilance was necessary to avoid the judicial selection process becoming “too partisan.”
“Nobody needed to rattle any sabers, and that certainly that wasn’t my goal,” Cornyn told reporters a few hours later. “There’s a little bit of a misunderstanding. … I think you’ll see a written clarification from the White House.”
“There will be no further written clarification,” he said. “We don’t think there’s any confusion.”
(UPDATED: because “enervated” and “exhilarated” are different things. )