John Cornyn, 53, is the junior senator from Texas, elected in 2002.

Since his election, Cornyn has been an outspoken proponent of the president's administration and the conservative branch of the GOP. But before he arrived in Washington, his reputation as Texas attorney general and as a Texas Supreme Court justice was that of a moderate Republican.

His seven-year tenure on the court was characterized by decisions favoring business and limiting government control. But he also wrote the majority decision in 1995 upholding Texas's "Robin Hood" school finance law, in which wealthier school districts share money with poorer ones -- a plan that Republicans have since tried to abolish.

During his four years as state attorney general, Cornyn angered some local Republicans for trying, unsuccessfully, to modify a ruling by a predecessor that eliminated affirmative-action programs at Texas colleges. He sued auto and home insurance firms for underpaying claims and for deceptive trade practices and prosecuted unscrupulous nursing home operators. He also defended before the U.S. Supreme Court a small Texas school district that broadcast student-led prayer before football games. The court ruled against the school-sponsored practice.

In the Senate, Cornyn has led efforts to defend Bush's judicial nominees and to fight filibusters of nominees, writing National Review articles that label opponents as "liberal special interest groups" engaged in "vicious politics." He spearheaded the push for constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and flag burning, and he favors school vouchers, prayer in public schools, extending Bush's tax cuts beyond 2010 and adding personal accounts to Social Security. He opposes abortion and a procedure opponents call "partial-birth" abortion, except when a woman's life is endangered.

-- Sylvia Moreno