John Cornyn III is an American politician and attorney serving as the senior United States senator from Texas, a seat he has held since 2002. A member of the Republican Party, he served as the Senate majority whip for the 114th and 115th Congresses, and previously served as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2009 to 2013.
Born in Houston, Cornyn is a graduate of Trinity University and St. Mary's University School of Law, and received an LL.M. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He was a judge on Texas's 37th District Court from 1985 to 1991. He was elected an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court, where he served from 1991 to 1997. In 1998, Cornyn was elected Attorney General of Texas, serving one term before winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2002. He was reelected in 2008, 2014, and 2020.
Early life, education, and legal career
Cornyn was born in Houston, the second child of Atholene Gale Cornyn (née Danley) and John Cornyn II, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He attended the American School in Japan after his family moved to Tokyo in 1968, and graduated from it in 1969. In 1973, he graduated from Trinity University, where he majored in journalism, and was a member of Chi Delta Tau. Cornyn earned a Juris Doctor from St. Mary's University School of Law in 1977 and an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. He was named the St. Mary's Distinguished Law School Graduate in 1994, and a Trinity University Distinguished Alumnus in 2001.
In 1988, Cornyn attended a two-week seminar at Oxford University, jointly hosted by the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada, Reno and Florida State University’s College of Law. The seminar, held on the Oxford campus, was not academically affiliated with the university.
Cornyn served as a district judge in San Antonio for six years before being elected as a Republican in 1990 to the Texas Supreme Court, on which he served for seven years.