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Serving in the U.S. Senate is no longer a hassle-free ticket to a plum Cabinet post.

Only one senator appointment to a top administration job has gone down in flames in modern political history – President H.W. Bush’s nomination of Sen. John Tower to serve as secretary of Defense in 1989. The Senate rejected Tower’s appointment in 1989 on a 54-47 vote amid allegations of alcohol abuse and heavy womanizing.

President-elect Trump is now considering at least four sitting senators for some of the most important roles in his administration, but several members of the elite group are already facing serious criticism among their colleagues who have the job of confirming them.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is a serious contender for several Cabinet roles, including Defense Secretary and attorney general. Despite his vicious feuding with Trump during the primary, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a candidate for both attorney general and the Supreme Court, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, made a pre-election Trump list for a possible high court pick. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is a finalist vying for the coveted secretary of state role.

A Washington Examiner survey of these senators’ colleagues, who will ultimately determine if they can win Senate approval after getting Trump’s nod, provides few assurances that any senator under consideration for key Cabinet roles would have a glide path to confirmation.

Since Trump’s stunning victory last week, the Senate has practically pushed Trump’s top GOP primary rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, into the vacant slot on the Supreme Court even as colleagues readily acknowledged that some lawmakers would vote to confirm Cruz just to bounce the unapologetic obstructionist out of Congress.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joked that if someone murdered Cruz on the Senate floor, “and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”

In an 180-degree about face, earlier this week Graham threw out Cruz’s name as a serious prospect for the Supreme Court.

“I think he’d get a lot of votes,” Graham told reporters to knowing laughter.

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He was more serious on Thursday when he issued a statement arguing that Cruz is a “constitutional conservative in the mold of Justice Scalia.”

“If you are looking or a Scalia-type figure, Ted Cruz fits the bill,” he said. “We have had our differences, but even his worst critics cannot say Ted Cruz is not one of the smartest, most gifted lawyers in the country.”

Unless the Senate eliminates the rule requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, however, Cruz’s would-be nomination to the high court is anything but assured.

With the Senate Republicans holding just a one-to-two seat majority, depending on the run-off for Lousiana’s Senate seat to replace GOP Sen. David Vitter, GOP senators may be reluctant to further reduce their numbers by confirming any Republican senators to administration posts.

“We only have 51-52 seats, they oughta stay put,” Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, told the Examiner.

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And even though Democrats would like to get Cruz out of the Senate, they don’t appear willing to sacrifice a high court seat to do it.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, told the Examiner that a significant portion of the Senate might want to vote for Cruz “just to get him away from us.”

But if Trump nominates him to the high court, many Democrats would oppose him based on temperament alone.

“His temperament and to the extent he is politicized from his races and his [presidential] campaign … all may him a really, really challenging candidate,” Whitehouse said. “If I were a staunch conservative advising President Trump, I would suggest to him that that was probably a nomination with way more baggage than is necessary.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who also has been floated as a top candidate to fill Scalia’s vacancy, on the other hand, would face an easier path, Whitehouse predicted, although he said there would still be a fight over “ideological concerns” with Lee.

“I think Mike Lee has acquitted himself with a lot of personal decency in the Senate,” Whitehouse said. “I think the differences that I and other senators would have with him would be more ideological – would he pre-judge cases based on his ideology but not ones of personality, honesty, temperament and other concerns.”

If the Senate rules don’t change, Democrats can still filibuster, and effectively block, lifetime high court appointments. Several Democrats seem poised to use whatever means necessary to retaliate against Senate Republicans for blocking President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to fill the Scalia vacancy for most of the year.

“I start with they stole a Supreme Court seat and McConnell needs to bring [the Garland nomination] to a vote. What he did was immoral, and unprecedented unless you count the Civil War quite a few yeasr ago … he got away with something in his mind.”

“… It’s not payback time, it’s just justice time,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, added.

Outside of Trump’s Supreme Court picks, lower court and all other presidential nominees must only garner a simple 51-vote majority. Democrats in 2013 invoked the nuclear option and changed Senate rules to eliminate the minority party from filibustering a nomination unless the opposition had 60 votes to overcome it. Now turn-about is fair play.

Still, serving in the Senate no longer appears to inoculate a candidate from a tough confirmation process.

Asked if her Senate colleagues would have an advantage over other non-Senate candidates during a confirmation process, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the incoming chair of the Judiciary Committee, said “not necessarily.”

Instead, she indicated that she would evaluate each nomination on a case by case basis.

An incoming president is “entitled to an administration,” she said. “The question becomes, ‘What kind of administration?'”

Sen. Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat from West Virginia, was more blunt: “If they are well-liked, it will be a positive. If they are not well-liked, it will be a negative,” he told the Examiner, referring to senators chances of winning confirmation to key Trump administration posts.

Asked about a potential Lee nomination for the Supreme Court, Manchin said simply: “well-liked.”

When it comes to Cruz for the high court or attorney general, he was equally direct: “More challenging,” he said with a smile.

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