Mr Cornyn, like several other GOP senators, noted that the Senate confirmed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose seat Ms Barrett would fill, by a bipartisan 96-3 vote. The conservative legal icon Antonin Scalia received 98 votes to the high court.
“Even the two justices who were once considered the ideological book-ends on the court received overwhelming support in the Senate,” Mr Cornyn said on Monday.
“The Senate used to recognize that exceptional qualifications were all that was required for a seat on the court. … Justice Ginsburg said of her unlikely friendship with Justice Scalia, you can disagree, without being disagreeable,” he said.
But Mr Cornyn has not been part of that bipartisan tradition — and never was.
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Since joining the Senate in 2002, the Texas Republican has voted against both Supreme Court justices nominated by a Democratic president, citing their perceived liberal “judicial activism.”
He voted against Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010, both of whom were selected to the bench by then-President Barack Obama.
Mr Cornyn later harangued his Democratic colleagues for how they treated Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings in 2018. Mr Kavanaugh was accused of sexually assaulting a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, when the two were in high school.
The GOP has said the arguments against Mr Kavanaugh were spurious at best, and a political hit job at worst.
“What our colleagues on the other side of the aisle put Justice Kavanaugh through two years ago was an absolute disgrace and hopefully a low point for the Senate,” Mr Cornyn said.
“They and some of their allies sought to destroy the personal character of a good man with innuendo, misinformation, and outright lies. I hope they resist the temptation to repeat that during this hearing,” he said.
Ms Ford’s story was never substantiated, but neither was it discredited wholesale.
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