Patterico's Pontifications


Ted Cruz Op-Ed: Not Until The People Have Spoken

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Ted Cruz, in a marvelously straightforward Wall Street Journal op-ed, neatly lays out his reasons for supporting the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to not take up a nominee to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court until after the election.

He launched his persuasive argument by illustrating how the Democrats’ and Republicans’ basic view of the Constitution is in direct opposition to one another:

Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided over the proper role of the Supreme Court. President Obama and Democrats favor justices who see the Constitution as a potter sees clay—something that can be molded to achieve their desired results. This has led the Supreme Court to invent rights that are nowhere in the Constitution—like the right to an abortion or to same-sex marriage—and ignore or restrict rights that even nonlawyers can’t miss—like the First and Second Amendments.

Republicans view things very differently. We believe the Constitution has a fixed meaning and a judge’s task is limited—to discover what that meaning is, not to make it up.

From there, Cruz informs readers exactly what is at stake if a Democratic nominee fills the seat:

If Justice Scalia is replaced by a Democratic nominee, many long-cherished rights will be jeopardized.

The court would be poised to allow the banning of movies and books criticizing political candidates like Hillary Clinton, to mandate that states permit the barbaric monstrosity known as partial-birth abortion, to force the religiously devout to provide abortion-inducing drugs, and to allow the confiscation of guns by holding that the Second Amendment doesn’t include an individual right to keep and bear arms.

After providing history about the last vacancy on the Supreme Court to arise before an election, Cruz reminds us that President Obama’s view of the Constitution has its roots in the views of another progressive who also sat in the Oval Office:

Most important, the deep disagreement that divides the political parties today over constitutional interpretation didn’t exist in the 19th century. This rift emerged in the early 20th century as American progressives began to question the Constitution’s merits. Woodrow Wilson—a Democrat and progressive leader—was the first president to have openly declared that the Constitution, with its separation of powers, was outdated. And Democrats have been subverting the Constitution ever since.

To overcome what he perceived to be the Constitution’s defects, President Wilson invoked the idea of a living constitution, which changes as society changes. “Government,” Wilson said, “is not a machine, but a living thing” and “is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton.”

That view has remained a foundational principle of the Democratic Party. In “The Audacity of Hope,” then-Sen. Obama wrote that the Constitution “is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.”

Cruz concludes:

Do the American people want a justice who adheres to the unchanging text, history and structure of the Constitution, or do they want a justice who thinks the Constitution should evolve with the personal beliefs of unelected lawyers? Voters deserve the opportunity to speak on this subject through the next president.

That is why I will oppose any attempt by the Democrats to deny the American people their say. There should be no hearing on any nomination that President Obama makes, and if any confirmation vote is attempted, I will filibuster it. Notably, this approach was advocated by Vice President Joe Biden when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1992, and as recently as 2007 by the man now slated to be the next Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer.

I strongly support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and my fellow Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, who have drawn a line in the sand on behalf of the American people: We will not consider any Supreme Court nominee until the people have spoken and a new president is inaugurated.

This op-ed comes a week after President Obama met with McConnell and Grassley in an effort to discuss filling the vacancy. To their credit, and to the utter irritation and disdain of Harry Reid, McConnell and Grassley steadfastly refused to budge on their decision to not consider a nominee until after the election.

While there is an eloquent simplicity to this op-ed, it is nonetheless profound. Not unlike the candidate himself.


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