U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke to NBC on Monday on the first day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
"Back in a former life I was a state court judge for 13 years on the trial bench, and as well as the Texas Supreme Court. So I come with a firm conviction of what judges should do in our three co-equal branches of government," Cornyn said. "Judges aren't politicians who wear black robes. Otherwise we would elect them rather than appoint them for life. And judges should interpret the law as written not as they wish it would be. So I think one of the best things about this confirmation hearing is you are going to have a very intelligent, accomplished, articulate nominee be able to explain why he believes his philosophy of judging is the appropriate one for judges on the Supreme Court and the lower courts well."
Democrats have said they will fight this nomination.
"I would say the judicial nominations, particularly at the Supreme Court level, have become unfortunately very politically contentious, so I don't expect my Democratic friends to go along quietly. But I do expect them to treat the judge fairly," Cornyn said.
These hearings begin less than a week after President Donald Trump released his budget proposal. The budget adds to defense spending, border security and veterans care. But there are cuts from several departments, including the Department of Agriculture.
"Well, presidential budgets are strange things around here, because every president sends over a budget, and almost immediately Congress goes off and does its own thing. But I think this budget is important because it demonstrates the president's commitment to rebuilding our military. That should be our number one priority as a federal government," Cornyn said.
Still, Cornyn said he suspects there will be some "significant differences between what the president has proposed, and what Congress ultimately does."
He added later, "I think farmers are essential to our economy, and obviously our way of life, and life itself. Unfortunately the farm budget gets caught up with a lot of things that may not be essential to helping our farmers and ranchers, and we can take a look at all of those things. I think it is all worth talking about, and going through with a fine-tooth comb, but I don't think our farmers have anything to worry about."