Cornyn Wood (see what I did there?)

I wrote a letter to Senator John Cornyn. You can read it here if you want. It is about the upcoming nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court, and why he should support Diane Wood.

Dear Senator Cornyn,

As a Texas voter, Rice University graduate, and 2L student at the Cardozo School of Law, I encourage you to support Diane Wood for nomination and confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, you play a very important role in the nomination of justices, and given the totality of the circumstances, Wood is best candidate Texas can get.

I understand that your political and party allegiances will lead you to oppose Wood, whether due to partisan or policy reasons. However, anyone the President nominates is going to meet some base level of pro-choice, or traditionally liberal, approval. The question then is, given these candidates, which one is the best of all the choices. For any Texan, the overwhelming choice is Wood, the only mentioned candidate from the University of Texas.

Placing Justice Wood on the Supreme Court would send a message that the University of Texas produces legal scholars on par with Harvard, Yale and Columbia, the other only schools represented on the highest court. Indeed, her confirmation could thrust the University of Texas to the very top of law school rankings and send the message that students do not need to leave our great state to get the best possible education.

This is the closest chance since Homer Thornberry’s nomination in 1968 for Texas to have say on the court. At a time when New Jersey and New York seem to be the only acceptable origins for a Supreme Court Justice, a Wood nomination would help emphasize that Texas is a center of intellectual research and modern business, deflecting the traditional, ignorant stereotypes from the coasts. Your colleague and my representative John Culberson likes to say “Let Texans Run Texas.” Well it is time to let Texans judge Texas, not to mention every other state.

One should learn a lesson from the Senate rejecting Thornberry in the wake of the Abe Fortas scandal. After senators filibustered President Johnson’s nomination of Abe Fortas to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice, and Thornberry to replace Fortas as Associate Justice, the chance was passed to President Nixon, who eventually nominated Justice Burger. While Burger was touted as a conservative, his eventual record could be seen as no more conservative or liberal than Thornberry’s. The main difference is that one was a Texan and one was not. Furthermore, if Johnson had made the nomination rather than Nixon, one could safely assume that he would choose a candidate much more liberal than Thornberry, and certainly one lacking in Texan sensibilities.

With this nomination at hand, you cannot hedge that a Republican will become President if a filibuster were successful. There is simply too much time and too great a Democratic majority, even if you are just waiting for the midterm elections. Obama will get a nominee, but you can influence which one. Go with the Texan.

Furthermore, of all the potential candidates, Wood distinctly has gained the respect of her conservative colleagues on one of the most conservative circuit courts. On the highest court, she would not be some renegade judge to be feared, but an academic sparring partner who would help conservative judges sharpen their own arguments, leading to better decisions and a collegial court that would embody a working bipartisanship severely lacking in today’s political rhetoric.

Even when looking at Wood’s liberal record, she deviates from some of her fellow judicial candidates by taking a position strictly limiting the Executive Branch. At a time when conservatives and Republicans worry about President Obama’s executive authority, Wood could stand as an ally with those who support a small and limited government. All of Obama’s potential nominees will be pro-choice, but not all will support a limited government.

Furthermore, Wood is the only candidate who has balanced her career while raising three children, and that experience has given her a home-town groundedness that would be hard to find from any justice, liberal or conservative.

I do not expect you to loudly proclaim your support for Wood. I do not even expect you to vote for her. However, a leaked word that a Texan nominee would lead to a smoother confirmation from the Texan Senator would be a sign that you are willing to face the facts, recognize the totality of the situation, suck it up and choose the best of all possibilities. And Wood is the best for Texas.

UPDATE: I reposted this at Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/21/859447/-The-Texan-Argument-for-Diane-Wood) And there was some discussion. But not really.

UPDATE 2: 2Up2Date: Shane brings up that O’Connor was born in El Paso. True, but she went to Stanford for undergrad and law school, and was essentially an Arizonian… Arizonite… from Arizona. Wood went to UT law, which is the main issue.

Advertisements

3 responses to “Cornyn Wood (see what I did there?)

  1. Well said. You make a lot of really good points.

  2. Cornyn is a St. Mary’s grad. and probably has no compelling interest to make UT even more of a super power. As you know it is about being an originalist or allowing the constitution to live not limited government policy decisions. Further this nomination is probably going to be a test case for Ginsburg’s seat, that is when you will see conflict and compromise.

    • True, he is a St. Mary’s grad and went to UVa for law school, but certainly there is some degree of Texan pride that would shine with a Texas Law grad on the Supreme Court. Also, one could certainly argue that universities have a halo effect, and a strong UT would help raise other universities in Texas. One of the problems that Rice has is that it is difficult to get prospective students to come look at the campus because there aren’t that many other universities of the same caliber nearby. In the Northeast, California, etc, students will go to look at their reach school, but then check out other schools as backups or just to see other options. These schools, that otherwise wouldn’t get attention, now get throngs of potential students.
      If students are traveling to Texas to see UT, they may check out other schools like St. Mary’s, granting it a national boost.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s