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The Brief: May 11, 2010

Texans are not known for keeping their opinions to themselves.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Texans are not known for keeping their opinions to themselves. 

Yesterday, President Barack Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court (passing up University of Texas Law grad Diane Wood in the process). Cue the reactions from Texas political officials, which were mixed.

Most have been fairly reserved, such as U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston:

"I congratulate Ms. Kagan on her nomination to the Supreme Court. Given her lack of experience on the bench, it is even more important for the Senate to engage in a careful and thorough vetting process to confirm that she abides by a strict interpretation of the Constitution and eschews judicial activism."

Others, are more excited about Kagan, including U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston:

"Solicitor General Elena Kagan is widely regarded as one of the nation's top legal minds and a trailblazer as a lawyer and an educator. She was the first woman to serve as solicitor general and the first woman to be named dean of Harvard Law School … I look forward to the Senate acting quickly on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. I want to commend President Obama for his deliberative approach in selecting such an outstanding candidate."

Others are a bit more, well, critical. Here’s U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-San Antonio, who sits on the Judiciary Committee:

"There is no doubt that Ms. Kagan possesses a first-rate intellect, but she is a surprising choice from a president who has emphasized the importance of understanding 'how the world works and how ordinary people live.' Ms. Kagan has spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square, Hyde Park and the DC Beltway. These are not places where one learns 'how ordinary people live.' Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court justice.”

For a quick read, inquiring minds might want to head over to Texas on the Potomac, where Rick Dunham has compiled a list of former Supreme Court justices that didn’t have prior judicial experience. It's actually a bit of a longer read than one might expect.

CULLED:

Bill White’s been crunching some numbers. Today, he is releasing a white paper detailing what he believes are problems with the money management of his general election opponent, incumbent Gov. Rick Perry.  It will especially highlight issues pertaining to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and the Texas Enterprise Fund.

• Hey! The gang’s all in Corpus Christi. That’s where Gov. Rick Perry will be hosting a college fair and discussing the importance of higher education this evening.  He will be joined by Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, Secretary of State Hope Andrade, and Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott to discuss the importance of higher education and to assure students that attending college is within their reach.

• What goes up must come down.  According to a new report from Texans for Public Justice, the amount of money spent on lobbying in Austin during the session fell in 2009 for the first time in a decade.

Indeed, rather than make her nomination less desirable, many of us believe that her long career in private practice will be to her credit.” — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-San Antonio, in a 2005 Dallas Morning News op-ed supporting Harriet Miers’ nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

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