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Friday , October 19 2018
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Video+Statement: Cornyn – Senate Votes to Advance Kavanaugh Nomination

WASHINGTON –On the floor of the Senate Chambers, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed Friday’s successful vote to advance Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and detailed the shameful tactics used by Democrats to derail and destroy his nomination.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s floor remarks are below, and video can be found above, courtesy CSpan.

“What the Senate just voted for was to end the games, character assassination, and the intimidation tactics that unfortunately have characterized so much of this confirmation process.”

“The FBI investigation was a useful way to demonstrate to the American people that none of these allegations that have been made against Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct have been proven.”

“There have been seven background investigations by the FBI of Judge Kavanaugh during his public service. The FBI has talked to more than 150 witnesses.”

“I feel badly for Dr. Ford in particular. She wanted none of this three-ring circus. She sent a letter to the ranking member and asked that her identity remain confidential, only to find, after the first confirmation hearing, that it was leaked to the press.”

“When we gave her an opportunity to have a bipartisan, professional investigation staff come out to California and interview her confidentially, she said, ‘nobody explained to me that was an option.’ Well, the lawyers that the ranking member referred her to apparently didn’t even tell their own client that she had the opportunity to avoid this three-ring circus.”

“We decided that Dr. Ford should be given an opportunity to tell her side of the story.”

“Throughout the hearing, we listened to Dr. Ford and we tried to understand what she was telling us.”

“We took her allegations seriously and treated her the same way we would want our wives or our daughters treated.”

“But we know at the end of the day there was no other witness who could corroborate or confirm what she said, even the ones she identified as having been present.”

“The other thing about these allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh is they are completely out of character.”

“We all had a chance to read the FBI report which failed to corroborate Dr. Ford’s allegations, and then today we did exactly what we needed to do, which is to vote. To stop the circus, stop the hijinks, stop the character assassination, and vote. So I’m glad our colleagues decided to close off debate.”

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Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Supreme Court Ruled States Can Legalize Sports Gambling, But Texas Still Might Not Play

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed all states to legalize sports gambling. But a ban in Texas remains in place, and recent history suggests that state leaders will be in no rush to lift it.

The high court ruled on Monday that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that barred states from legalizing sports gambling, violates the U.S. Constitution. The ruling was on a New Jersey case born out of the state’s efforts in 2014 to repeal a sports betting ban, allowing the state to regulate such behavior.

“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

The ruling made immediate waves, with some states already preparing to take up sports gambling legislation. Some estimates predict as many as 32 states will offer sports betting within five years; in some of those places, it could begin as soon as next month.

But there were no immediate responses Monday from top Texas officials, suggesting the state is in no rush to change the state law that now prohibits the practice. State leaders have shown resistance to doing so in the past.

In November 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott asked state lottery officials to stop collecting information about potential sports betting games, writing that he did not want the agency to consider any expansions.

“State laws on gaming are to be viewed strictly as prohibitive to any expansion of gambling. This statutory framework is properly intentioned to protect our citizens, and I support it wholeheartedly,” Abbott wrote at the time. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he agreed. Neither returned requests for comment Monday.

In September, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sided with New Jersey in a 21-state brief on the case, arguing that PAPSA “impermissibly skews the federal-state balance” of power. But it seems that was an argument more for states’ rights to decide about sports gambling than for the practice itself.

PAPSA “tramples on state sovereignty,” Paxton said in November.

Paxton also wrote in a non-binding opinion in January 2016 that fantasy sports sites — which many consider more innocuous than traditional sports betting — are akin to gambling because they involve “partial chance.” The Legislature’s efforts to clarify those distinctions fell flat. State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, a Laredo Democrat who led that charge, said he plans to file similar legislation again but doesn’t expect the court’s ruling to have immediate impact on his push.

Advocates say sports betting would be an economic boon for states that don’t currently allow it; some estimates say it could add more than $1 billion to Texas’ economy. Opponents fret that sports gambling could draw young people into a practice some view as immoral.

Read related Tribune coverage:

By EMMA PLATOFF – The Texas Tribune

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