John Cornyn

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John Cornyn
John Cornyn.jpg
U.S. Senate, Texas
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 12
PredecessorPhil Gramm (R)
Senate Minority Whip
January 3, 2013 - Present
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedDecember 2, 2002
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$29,108,909
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Texas state attorney general
Texas supreme court
Bexar County district court judge
Bachelor'sTrinity University
J.D.St. Mary’s School of Law
OtherLL.M., University of Virginia
Date of birthFebruary 2, 1952
Place of birthHouston, Texas
Net worth$423,510
Office website
Campaign website
John Cornyn (b. February 2, 1952 in Houston, Texas) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate. Cornyn was first elected to the Senate in 2002. He is the current Senate Minority Whip.

Cornyn most recently won re-election in 2008. He defeated Richard Noriega (D) and Yvonne Adams Schick (L) in the general election.

Cornyn served as a Bexar County district court judge from 1984 to 1990. He went on to serve on the Texas Supreme Court from 1990 to 1997. Cornyn then served as Texas Attorney General from 1999 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2002.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Cornyn is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.

Cornyn is seeking re-election in 2014.


After earning his J.D. from St. Mary’s School of Law, Cornyn became an attorney. He went on to become district court judge for Bexar County, TX, and then Texas Supreme Court justice, before running for the U.S. Senate.[1]


  • 1984-1990: Bexar County district court judge
  • 1990-1997: Texas supreme court
  • 1999-2002: Texas state attorney general
  • 2002-present: U.S. Senate

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Cornyn serves on the following Senate committees[2]:

  • Committee on Finance
    • The Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight
    • The Subcommittee on Healthcare
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
    • Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights


Cornyn was a member of the following Senate committees[3]:

  • Armed Services Committee
  • Committee on Finance
    • Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
    • Subcommittee on Health Care
    • Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security
    • Subcommittee on the Constitution


Senate Judiciary Committee

Cornyn was first appointed to Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn in in January of 2003.[4].

Cornyn participated in the confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court of the United States for Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005 and Associate Justices Samuel Alito in 2006 and Sonia Sotomayor in 2009.

Judicial activism

Senator Cornyn has been noted as one of the leading advocates in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of Judicial Activism. Cornyn has expressed serious concern on the issue over cases involving gun rights and the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Takings clause in the Constitution involving property rights. Cornyn has also said that judges should not move the law into one direction or the other towards their preferences. This was key in addressing the issue of Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States in 2009. Cornyn voted against the confirmation of Sotomayor, but took the committee to task about the proper role of how judge should rule fairly and impartially. Cornyn is the only member on the committee with appellate level judicial experience.[5]

Cornyn spoke on the issue of judicial activism in front of The Federalist Society during a talk with the Dallas Area Lawyers Chapter on October 14, 2009. During his speech, the Senator criticized the Obama Administration for nominating judges and key legal advisers for embracing judicial activism.[6] Cornyn cited nominations including the one of Harold Koh for embracing activism, including Koh's belief that the American court system should be trans-national.[6]

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Cornyn voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89/8 vote on January 1, 2013.[7]

Drones filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists were critical of President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[8][9][10]

Cornyn was one of the 13 Republican senators who joined Paul in his filibuster.[11][12]

According to the website Breitbart, 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.[13][14]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[15]



See also: United States Senate elections in Texas, 2014

Cornyn is seeking re-election in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Texas. The general election takes place on November 4, 2014.

Cornyn hired a campaign manager with ties to fellow senator Ted Cruz, in an attempt to appeal to a broader Republican base in 2014. The goal of this move is to avoid a potential primary challenge in 2014.[16]

Tea-party opposition

Texas tea-party activists are hoping to find a primary challenger for Cornyn in his 2014 Senate bid. This comes after Cornyn withdrew his support from Senator Mike Lee's efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act.[17][18]


On November 4, 2008, John Cornyn won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Richard Noriega (D) and Yvonne Adams Schick (L) in the general election.[19]

U.S. Senate, Texas General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Cornyn incumbent 54.8% 4,337,469
     Democratic Richard Noriega 42.8% 3,389,365
     Libertarian Yvonne Adams Schick 2.3% 185,241
Total Votes 7,912,075

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cornyn is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Cornyn raised a total of $29,108,909 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[21]

John Cornyn's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 US Senate (Texas) Won $19,326,337
2002 US Senate (Texas) Won $9,782,572
Grand Total Raised $29,108,909


Candidates for Congress are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Cornyn's reports.[22]

John Cornyn (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[23]April 15, 2013$2,671,655.28$1,854,913.27$(347,519.79)$4,179,048.76
July Quarterly[24]July 15, 2013$4,179,048.76$2,329,648.14$(521,702.95)$5,986,993.95
Running totals


Top recipients of lobbyist contributions

On a list of Top 10 Recipients of Contributions from Lobbyists in 2013 from Open Secrets, Cornyn ranked 10th on the list with $51,700 in lobbyist contributions.[25]


Breakdown of the source of Cornyn's campaign funds before the 2008 election.

Cornyn won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Cornyn's campaign committee raised a total of $19,326,337 and spent $18,994,698.[26]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Cornyn is a "rank-and-file Republican" as of June 2013.[27]

Like-minded colleagues

The website Open Congress, tracks whom from each party each member of Congress votes most and least often with.[28]

Cornyn most often votes with:

Cornyn least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Cornyn missed 61 of 3,251 roll call votes from January 2003 to March 2013. This amounts to 1.9%, which is worse than the median of 1.7% among current senators as of March 2013.[29]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Cornyn paid his congressional staff a total of $3,342,783 in 2011. He ranked 2nd on the list of the highest paid Republican Senatorial Staff Salaries and he ranked 6th overall of the highest paid Senatorial Staff Salaries in 2011. Overall, Texas ranked 3rd in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[30]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by - The Center for Responsive Politics, Cornyn's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $146,021 to $700,999. That averages to $423,510, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2011 of $6,358,668. His average net worth increased by 7.90% from 2010.[31]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by - The Center for Responsive Politics, Cornyn's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $153,014 and $631,999. That averages to $392,506.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2010 of $7,054,258.[32]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Cornyn ranked 2nd in the conservative rankings among members of the U.S. Senate.[33]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Cornyn ranked 14th in the conservative rankings among U.S. Senators.[34]

Voting with party


Cornyn voted with the Republican Party 87.8% of the time, which ranked 27th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[35]


Cornyn and his wife, Sandy, have two children.[36]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term John + Cornyn + Texas + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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External links


  1. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress "John Cornyn," Accessed November 23, 2011
  2. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  3. Official Senate website "Committee Assignments," Accessed November 23, 2011
  4. "Senate Judiciary" List of previous members
  5. "Senator John Cornyn" Sen. Cornyn Statement In Advance Of The Judiciary Committee’s Vote On Judge Sotomayor, July 28, 2009
  6. 6.0 6.1 "YouTube" Speech of Senator Cornyn to Dallas Federalist Society, October 14, 2009
  7. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  8. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  9. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  10. ABC News, "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
  11. The Blaze, "Here Are All the GOP Senators That Participated in Rand Paul’s 12+ Hour Filibuster… and the Ones Who Didn’t," March 7, 2013
  12. Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster of John Brennan," March 7, 2013
  13. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
  14. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  15. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  16. Politico, "John Cornyn hires campaign aide with Ted Cruz ties," July 11, 2013
  17., " Red State calls Cornyn 'a sad joke'," July 29, 2013
  18. National Review Online, "Texas Tea Partiers Gunning For Gohmert to Primary Cornyn," August 7, 2013
  19. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  20. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  21. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for John Cornyn," Accessed March 25, 2013
  22. Federal Election Commission "John Cornyn Summary Report," Accessed July 22, 2013
  23. 'Federal Election Commission "John Cornyn April Quarterly," Accessed July 22, 2013
  24. 'Federal Election Commission "John Cornyn July Quarterly," Accessed July 22, 2013
  25. Open Secrets "Top Recipients of Lobbyists Cash in 2013" Accessed July 3, 2013
  26. Open Secrets "John Cornyn 2008 Election Cycle," Accessed November 23, 2011
  27. Gov Track "John Cornyn," Accessed June 7, 2013
  28. OpenCongress, "John Cornyn," Accessed July 30, 2013
  29. GovTrack, "John Cornyn," Accessed April 2, 2013
  30. LegiStorm "John Cornyn"
  31. "John Cornyn (R-Texas), 2011," accessed February 22, 2013
  32., "Cornyn, (R-TX), 2010"
  33. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," March 11, 2013
  34. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  35. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  36. Official House website "Biography," Accessed November 23, 2011