Sen. John Cornyn Surprised to Learn Judge-Blocking May Cause Judge Shortages

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) complains about the slow judicial nomination process, forgets he's the one blocking that process. Senate Judiciary Chair politely reminds him.

Texas Senator John Cornyn at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration complains about the judicial nomination process he's blocking. More derp: claims illegal immigrants "wearing some form of turban" are crossing the border.


With the number of vacant judicial seats nearing epidemic levels, one legislator is demanding some answers: professional judge-blocker Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

During the Judiciary Committee’s  recent hearing on immigration reform, Sen. Cornyn complained that his home state of Texas was suffering from a  shortage  of immigration judges. Thousands of illegal immigrants cross the Southern border into Texas each year, Cornyn explained, many of them even “wearing some form of turban.” 

But not everyone is so concerned about the threat of turban-wearing border-crossers (nomadic Mexican Sikhs maybe?).  While immigration judgeships are handled separately from district court judgeships, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was dubious that Sen. Cornyn was really as concerned about filling vacancies as he claimed. Whitehouse questioned why he was asking for additional immigration judges when he hadn’t even attempted to fill the existing district court vacancies in his state.

I don’t see why you need additional judges when there have been multiple vacancies that have been left without nominees for years.

Sen. Cornyn, who hasn’t recommended a judicial nominee in several years and voted against the confirmations of both of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as well as a number of the President’s lower federal court nominees, blamed the White House for the vacancies: 

Why don’t you tell the White House to nominate some people? … The Constitution provides the president makes a nomination, and we provide advice and consent. So that’s a condition precedent to our ability to act.

Patrick Leahy Senate Judiciary Committee immigration hearing John Cornyn judicial nominees

“Bitch, please.”

If you’re hoping this is the part of the story where some older, takes-no-shit legislator steps in to remind Sen. Cornyn that he’s the one undermining the judicial nomination process in the first place, you shan’t be disappointed. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) explained to Cornyn and fellow Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) that they needed to recommend some candidates before the President would nominate anyone:

Based on 38 years experience here, every judgeship I’ve seen come through this committee during that time has followed recommendations by the senators from the state. You have to have recommendations from the senators.

Cornyn and Cruz pointed out that they had recently created a commission to vet potential judicial nominees. Naturally, Leahy asked whether the commission had actually made any recommendations, to which Cornyn responded:

Well it’s uh, we’re working on that. What is this, May? And we’re trying to, we’re trying — we’re working on that.

Leahy, awesomely:

I would be happy to help you.


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6 Responses to Sen. John Cornyn Surprised to Learn Judge-Blocking May Cause Judge Shortages

  1. barjack


    I’d help too. I’d help hold their head under water – for a really long time . . .

  2. Chubby Hubby


    Actually they’re nomadic Guatemalan Sikhs.

    • Linda (The Daily Dolt)



      Ah, the lost tribe of Guatemalan Sikhs, once thought to be myth.

  3. clarification


    Immigration Judges aren’t Article III Judges, so they’re two separate issues.

    • Linda (The Daily Dolt)



      Agreed. I think Whitehouse’s point was just that Cornyn was being disingenuous to use lack of immigration judges as a basis for arguing against immigration reform when he obviously doesn’t care too much about the availability of judges in his state.

  4. NancyE


    If he cares about how tax dollars are spent, as he claims, he should damn well care about the lack of judges in TX, as recently a judge had to be flown in from HAWAII to hear cases because there is such a backlog.