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Senate Proceeding on May 3rd, 2011 :: 1:26:30 to 1:44:25
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John Cornyn

1:26:28 to 1:26:53( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i'd ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i thank the chair. madam president, i -- i rise to speak on a nomination that's

John Cornyn

1:26:30 to 1:44:25( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Cornyn

John Cornyn

1:26:54 to 1:27:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: pending for the senate and i do so with some degree of trepidation much because as someone who has been a member of the legal profession about 30-plus years, i really believe that it's imperative that i voice my strong concerns and, indeed, my objections to the nomination of jack mcconnell

John Cornyn

1:27:15 to 1:27:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: to become a united states district judge, a vote we'll have tomorrow morning on a cloture vote. the reason i was attracted, like so many others, to law school and the legal profession was because of the majesty of the notion of the law, the responsibilities that lawyers

John Cornyn

1:27:37 to 1:27:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: owed not just to themselves to enrich themselves, but to their client the fiduciary duty that a lawyer has to represent a cliefnlt and then, of -- a client. and then the ethical standards which some might scoff at that work actually pretty well that keep lawyers, for the most part,

John Cornyn

1:27:58 to 1:28:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: accountable to the high ethical standards imposed by the legal profession. but, unfortunately, and i -- i'm sorry to have to say this, that -- but the hard truth is mr. mcconnell's record which i will describe here in a moment

John Cornyn

1:28:19 to 1:28:39( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: of one of not upholding the rule of law, but perverting the rule of law, ignoring the sponties that he had to -- responsibilities that he had to his client and manipulating those ethical standards in order to enrich himself and his law partners. but, first, let me just say that mr. mcconnell when he came

John Cornyn

1:28:40 to 1:29:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: before the senate judiciary committee intentionally misled the committee during the confirmation process. i don't know how i can say it any more gently, the fact is, he lied to the senate judiciary committee during his confirmation process. and regardless of who nominates an individual, party affiliation aside, i don't think the senate

John Cornyn

1:29:03 to 1:29:24( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: as an institution should tolerate a nominee that intentionally misrepresents the facts in the context of a confirmation process. this involved his -- his participation in -- or involvement with a set of stolen confidential documents that his

John Cornyn

1:29:25 to 1:29:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: law firm obtained during a lawsuit of the sherwin williams company. mr. mcconnell told members said -- quote -- "i was not familiar with the documents in any fashion." close quote. only a few months later in september of 2010, this same

John Cornyn

1:29:47 to 1:30:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: nominee gave a deposition in an ohio court where he testified that he was the first attorney at his firm to review the documents in question. that he had drafted a newspaper editorial citing information that had come from those documents and that portions of those documents were incorporated in a brief filed

John Cornyn

1:30:09 to 1:30:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: under his signature. despite this obvious contradiction and given an opportunity to correct his misleading statement, mr. mcconnell is unequivocally stood by his original statement to committee members. i would reiterate, madam president, this body should not approve or confirm a

John Cornyn

1:30:30 to 1:30:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: lifetime appointment for someone who wants to serve as a judge in particular, but anyone who would lie to or at best intentionally mislead the senate by downplaying his role in a serious controversy involving, in this case, stolen confidential documents. during the time i practiced law

John Cornyn

1:30:51 to 1:31:12( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: and served on the state court bench in my state in texas, i've come to respect lawyers who handle all sorts of cases, lawyers that prosecute criminal cases, lawyers that defend criminal cases, lawyers that defend citizens, including companies sued for money damages, and those who bring those lawsuits.

John Cornyn

1:31:13 to 1:31:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: constrained again by the rule of law, duty to the client and high ethical standards. but based on his long career as a lawyer, mr. mcconnell has advocated, it's clear from the evidence, a results-oriented view of the law and manipulated it for his personal gain. these theories that he's

John Cornyn

1:31:35 to 1:31:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: advanced ostensibly on behalf of his client have been rejected not just by people like me, but by a very broad range of opinion in the legal community. for example, mr. mcconnell and his firm sued paint manufacturers based on an unprecedented theory of public nuisance that allowed them to circumvent long-standing legal

John Cornyn

1:31:57 to 1:32:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: doctrine and receive a huge jury award in a sympathetic judge's courtroom. ultimately the rhode island supreme court rejected unanimously this theory, declaring it at odds with centuries of american law and antithetical to the common law, to quote the court. as one iowa attorney general who

John Cornyn

1:32:19 to 1:32:43( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: happens to be a democrat said, mr. mcconnell's lead paint litigation was -- quote -- "a lawsuit in search of a legal theory." close quote. mr. mcconnell's lead paint litigation scheme required the complicity. and i'm going to speak on more

John Cornyn

1:32:44 to 1:33:05( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: in a movement mr. mcconnell's decision showed his lack of judicial temperament. it showed not only does he still adamantly believe in these add ral -- radical unprecedented theories rejected by the high court of rhode island but he lacks the temperament to serve on the federal bench.

John Cornyn

1:33:06 to 1:33:26( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: instead of respecting the decision made by the highest court in the state, mr. mcconnell wrote an op-ed piece condemning the court and saying he believed their decisions let the wrongdoers off the hook. in other words, mr. mcconnell made clear that he believes the law should be manipulateed to serve his agenda, not to uphold

John Cornyn

1:33:27 to 1:33:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the rule of law, in order to respect the very bodies under our system for interpreting the law and rendering judgment. mr. mcconnell's outburst was not particularly surprising given his public admission previously that he is -- quote -- "an emotional person about injustice at any level, personal, societal or global,"

John Cornyn

1:33:48 to 1:34:09( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: as he put it. close quote. this lack of temperament and novel view of the law is indicative of the type of judge jack mcconnell would be. i'm sorry to say biased against a certain class of people and untethered to the rule of law.

John Cornyn

1:34:10 to 1:34:30( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: mr. mcconnell's practices are also, exist under an ethical cloud throughout his career. he and his law firm made billions of dollars and a name for themselves through their pioneering practice of soliciting no-bid contingent fee contracts from state officials. for example, mr. mcconnell and his firm played a central role

John Cornyn

1:34:31 to 1:34:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: in litigating lawsuits brought by state attorney generals first against tobacco companies and then lead-based paint manufacturers. of course i'm not saying that tobacco companies and other companies shouldn't be held accountable for harmful products, but the purpose of the law should be to compensate those people who have been aggrieved and to deter others

John Cornyn

1:34:53 to 1:35:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: from acting in the same fashion in the future. and the litigation that he constructed and devised, the scheme he literally created did none of that. the question is ultimately: where did the money go? under these contracts, mr. mcconnell and his partners have repeatedly sued american businesses, pocketing billions

John Cornyn

1:35:15 to 1:35:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: of dollars for themselves in attorneys' fees while leaving taxpayers on the hook for the resulting costs. in the word of one respected legal commentator, mr. mcconnell and lawyers like him have -- quote -- "perverted the legal system for personal and political gain at the expense of everyone else. " close quote. in several lawsuits

John Cornyn

1:35:36 to 1:35:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: mr. mcconnell and his partners received contingent fee contracts from state officials to whom they later contributed tens of thousands of dollars. now i think there's a lot of very important public policy reasons why state officials should not be able to outsource their responsibilities to private lawyers based on a

John Cornyn

1:35:57 to 1:36:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: contingency fee where their only incentive is one of a profit motive, untethered by the sorts of checks and balances that elected or other appointed government officials would ordinarily have. our system of justice relies on financially disinterested officials who are, who take an

John Cornyn

1:36:19 to 1:36:39( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: oath to uphold the law and not those whose sole motive is not to uphold the law but to twist it and to manipulate it in order to maximize our economic gain. some of these lawyers, including mr. mcconnell's firm, pocketed what amounts to hundreds of

John Cornyn

1:36:40 to 1:37:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: thousands of dollars per hour -- per hour -- for their work in lawsuits against tobacco companies. mr. mcconnell and lawyers like him are the big winners in these lawsuits, taking home large sums of money that rightfully belong to the taxpayer, the client that i mentioned at the outset. imagine if these billions of dollars were spent on cancer research or improving public

John Cornyn

1:37:01 to 1:37:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: health instead of lining the pockets of a few well-connected, politically well-connected lawyers. more importantly, however, the outsourcing of suits to create private trial lawyers -- to private trial lawyers on a contingency fee basis creates both the appearance and

John Cornyn

1:37:22 to 1:37:42( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: opportunity for corruption by allowing state officials to reward their friends and campaign contributors. now one reason, mr. president, that i've taken such a strong personal interest in this issue is because of my service as attorney general of texas following that of dan morales,

John Cornyn

1:37:43 to 1:38:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: my predecessor. mr. morales served over three years in the federal penitentiary for attempting to illegally channel millions of dollars in a tobacco settlement that was due to the state of texas, but he steered it to a lawyer friend of his by trying to back date a contract to make it appear to be something it was not.

John Cornyn

1:38:04 to 1:38:26( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the actions of mr. mcconnell and his partners by funneling tens of thousands of dollars into campaign accounts of state officials who hired them raises concerns about pay-to-play dealings. in the state of washington, for example, mr. mcconnell and members of his small south carolina-based law firm

John Cornyn

1:38:27 to 1:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: contributed $23,200 to the reelection of the attorney general in the state of washington. by the way, that was the very same lawyer who hired them on a contingency fee basis to represent the state. in north dakota, mr. mcconnell and his wife contributed $30,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of the attorney general who appointed him as special assistant attorney general for purposes of representing that

John Cornyn

1:38:50 to 1:39:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: state in tobacco litigation. mr. mcconnell and his law firm contributed an additional $73,000 to that same attorney general's state political party during the campaign cycle, making them the number-four campaign contributor to that organization. now, there's nothing wrong with people contributing money to political candidates or parties

John Cornyn

1:39:12 to 1:39:32( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: or causes that they believe in, but it's another matter when these contributions are made in connection with no-bid contracts 0 or apparent political favors. it's no small matter that mr. mcconnell has a lucrative ongoing financial arrangement as a product of his previous work

John Cornyn

1:39:33 to 1:39:53( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: as a trial lawyer. in fact, he will receive $2.5 million to $3.1 million a year through 2024 as part of his payoff for his work in the tobacco litigation i mentioned a moment ago. $2.5 million to $3.1 million a year through 2024.

John Cornyn

1:39:54 to 1:40:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: for anyone that would praise mr. mcconnell for giving up a successful legal career in order to serve as a federal judge, remember that he would be reaping huge windfalls at the expense of taxpayers long into his teen neuro as a federal -- long into his tenure as a federal judge. some senators will say whatever his past, mr. mcconnell

John Cornyn

1:40:15 to 1:40:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: deserves the benefit of the doubt and that he would be an impartial judge if confirmed by the senate to this lifetime appointment. mr. president, i cannot agree and neither does, by the way, the united states chamber of commerce. they have taken an unprecedented step of opposing this nomination. and, mr. president, i would ask

John Cornyn

1:40:37 to 1:40:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: unanimous consent that that letter be made part of the record following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: the multiple controversies surrounding mr. mcconnell are so extraordinary that the chamber has taken the step of opposing his nomination and declaring him -- quote -- "unfit to serve." close quote. this is the first time in its 99-year history that they

John Cornyn

1:40:58 to 1:41:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: opposed a district court nominee. my colleagues have asked me whether i believe that texas businesses and business people would get a fair shake in jack mcconnell's courtroom, and i absolutely do not believe they could. to my colleagues who may doubt what i'm saying or look for some proof, i would just say read the record.

John Cornyn

1:41:19 to 1:41:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: i'm convinced that you would have trouble looking your constituents in the eye and telling them that you believe that mr. mcconnell would be fair to all litigants in his courtroom, and in this case especially business who is may be sued for money damages as he did throughout his legal career. in fact, mr. mcconnell during

John Cornyn

1:41:42 to 1:42:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the judiciary committee deliberations described his legal philosophy as saying -- quote -- "there are wrongs that need to be righted, and that's how i see the law." close quote. well, that doesn't cite any applicable legal standard, doesn't take into account law as we know it. but just wrongs that he believes need to be righted.

John Cornyn

1:42:03 to 1:42:23( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: similarly, mr. mcconnell has said that based upon his experience, he has absolutely no confidence that certain industries will ever do the right thing and that they will only do the right thing when they are sued and forced to by a jury trial. now given his tendency to view lawsuits against businesses as a movement against societal

John Cornyn

1:42:24 to 1:42:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: injustice, it's difficult to see how mr. mcconnell could put those personal views aside and to give all litigants in his courtroom a fair trial, a right to which they are guaranteed under our constitution and laws. and i believe a vote to allow mr. mcconnell's nomination is a vote to create yet another

John Cornyn

1:42:48 to 1:43:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: court where trial lawyers to repeatedly prevail in frivolous litigation against american businesses and that is something we should not a hroufplt mr. mcconnell's behavior during his career demonstrates a lack of ethics and temperament necessary to serve as a federal judge. i would hope a president would

John Cornyn

1:43:09 to 1:43:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: never appoint someone like jack mcconnell, but apparently everyone makes mistakes, including this nomination by this president. instead of stubbornly digging in his haoerblgs usually the president -- heels, usually the president agrees to withdraw nominations that stem controversy. but the president has forced me

John Cornyn

1:43:30 to 1:43:51( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: and others to stand our ground in appointing mr. mcconnell to the federal bench. based on his deeply troubling ethical record and the fact that he intentionally misled if not lied to the judiciary committee during his confirmation process, i believe we must fight this nomination with every tool at our disposal.

John Cornyn

1:43:52 to 1:44:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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