HOUSTON (FOX 26) - You could call it the "Granddaddy" of consolation prizes—a potential nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court for Ted Cruz by his one-time political nemesis, President-elect Donald Trump.
Despite official denials from the senator, few doubt that the controversial Texan has been totally eliminated from consideration.
"For him, I think, being a Supreme Court justice would be a dream job, perhaps not the same as president, but probably the next best thing," said Rice political analyst Mark Jones.
"Aside from being President, I think this is right where Ted Cruz wants to be," added FOX 26 Legal Analyst Chris Tritico.
A fierce pro-gun, pro-life, pro-liberty constitutionalist, Cruz would bring an aggressively conservative voice to the high court, in fulfillment of Trump's pledge while also diverting a potentially potent rival away from GOP politics.
"He's also only 46, which would mean this is an appointment that would last 30 or more years for a president. So if you are a president looking to have a long lasting, judicial impact, putting Ted Cruz on the U.S. Supreme Court would certainly accomplish that," said Jones.
But because a Cruz confirmation could prove deeply problematic in a U.S. Senate where the Texan has few friends, Jones considers the rumored nomination a "long shot".
Not so for Tritico, who suspects a nomination to the court was the price for Cruz's stunning endorsement of Trump in the waning weeks of the Fall campaign, after months of snubbing the nominee.
"The only reason he did what he did has to be to land right on the U.S. Supreme Court," said Tritico.
Meantime, the Trump transition team has reportedly begun circulating the names of five finalists and Cruz is not on the list.