Meet Solicitor General Cruz: Extreme And Far-Right Wing

Before he read Green Eggs and Ham to shut down the government over the ACA, Ted Cruz was a state solicitor general arguing in front of the Supreme Court.

Today, Politico Magazine published a profile about Cruz’s five years as solicitor general in Texas, where the senator turned the legal job into a national platform to broadcast his brand of red-meat conservatism. The article focuses on Cruz’s fight against gun safety and how he used the position to propel himself throughout his 2012 Senate campaign. But Cruz’s time as solicitor general shows more than that. It shows just how deeply rooted Cruz’s extremism is:

  • As solicitor general, Cruz argued that Texas didn’t have to comply with the Vienna Conventions and inform a Mexican citizen of his right to contact contact his consulate after being arrested.
  • Cruz argued that Texas had the right to execute the mentally ill. 
  • Cruz argued that Texas shouldn’t have to provide health wellness check ups to poor children in order to meet Medicaid requirements.

Take a look at more of his far-right wing record as Texas solicitor general:

Background

Controversial Tenure As Texas Solicitor General

“Under God” Pledge Of Allegiance In Public Schools

Cruz Defended The Recitation Of The [Texas] Pledge Of Allegiance In Public Schools. According to the Washington Post, “In 2003, Cruz was appointed solicitor general and returned to Texas. In his five years in the post, he wrote 70 briefs to the Supreme Court and argued before the court nine times. He was involved in numerous high-profile cases, including defending the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools and the 2003 Texas redistricting plan.” [Washington Post, 8/1/12]

Cruz Touted His Defense That The Term “Under God” Remain Included In The Texas Pledge Of Allegiance. According to Mother Jones, “Other cases he took on reflected his conservative Christian ideology. On his campaign website, he touts successfully defending the inclusion of the term ‘under God’ in the Texas Pledge of Allegiance and a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state Capitol. He notes that he fought in the courts to protect a Bible display installed on public property and to have the divorce of a same-sex couple’s civil union invalidated because they’d gotten hitched in Vermont.” [Mother Jones, 10/1/12]

  • State Attorney General Argued That The Texas Pledge Reflected The “Constitutionally Protected Freedom Of Religion.” According to the Texas Attorney General official website, “The voluntary, teacher-led recitation of the Texas Pledge typically follows the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms across the state. According to the state’s brief, the Legislature added the words ‘one state under God’ to acknowledge the tradition and religious heritage inherent in America’s founding. The state contends the Texas Pledge is an acknowledgment of patriotism and citizenship. It is a practice that mirrors the Declaration of Independence’s self-evident truths that citizens are ‘endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ The Attorney General’s brief argues that, instead of conflicting with the First Amendment, the Pledge reflects the constitutionally protected freedom of religion.” [Texas Attorney General Website, 8/28/07]

 

2003 Texas Redistricting Plan

Cruz Defended The 2003 Texas Redistricting Plan. According to the Washington Post, “In 2003, Cruz was appointed solicitor general and returned to Texas. In his five years in the post, he wrote 70 briefs to the Supreme Court and argued before the court nine times. He was involved in numerous high-profile cases, including defending the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools and the 2003 Texas redistricting plan.” [Washington Post, 8/1/12]

  • Cruz Defended The Texas Redistricting Plan “As An Appropriate Effort To Counter ‘One Of The Most Profoundly Anti-Majoritarian Maps In The Country.” According to the New York Times, “Mr. Cruz, the Texas state lawyer, appeared to make some headway in defending the 2003 redistricting as an appropriate effort to counter ‘one of the most profoundly anti-majoritarian maps in the country,’ as he described the district lines drawn by the state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature after the 1990 census.” [New York Times, 3/2/06]
  • New York Times: Cruz Said “The Republicans Were Simply Taking Back A Legislative Prerogative From The Court.” According to the New York Times, “Texas picked up two Congressional seats in the 2000 census. Republicans had gained control of the State Senate by then. The divided Legislature deadlocked over redistricting and left the job to a federal court, which based the 2001 plan largely on the one from a decade earlier. By drawing a new plan in 2003, after winning the State House, the Republicans were simply taking back a legislative prerogative from the court, Mr. Cruz said. ‘The framers chose political checks for the problem of partisan gerrymandering,’ he said.” [New York Times, 3/2/06]
  • The Texas Redistricting PlanRemoved 100,000 Mexican-American Residents Of Laredo From A District In Which The Republican Incumbent Had Grown Vulnerable. According to the New York Times, “Several justices, including, most significantly, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who may be in a position to cast the deciding vote, expressed concern with aspects of how particular districts were dismantled and reconfigured. As a result, it appeared possible that the court would find a violation of the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee in the way the new lines were drawn in South Texas. The legislators removed 100,000 Mexican-American residents of Laredo from a district in which the Republican incumbent, Representative Henry Bonilla, had become more vulnerable with each passing election, while creating a new Latino-majority district in a narrow strip running 300 miles from Austin to the Mexican border.” [New York Times, 3/2/06]
  • The Texas Redistricting PlanCreated A “New Latino-Majority District” Running 300 Miles From Austin To The Mexican Border. According to the New York Times, “Several justices, including, most significantly, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who may be in a position to cast the deciding vote, expressed concern with aspects of how particular districts were dismantled and reconfigured. As a result, it appeared possible that the court would find a violation of the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee in the way the new lines were drawn in South Texas. The legislators removed 100,000 Mexican-American residents of Laredo from a district in which the Republican incumbent, Representative Henry Bonilla, had become more vulnerable with each passing election, while creating a new Latino-majority district in a narrow strip running 300 miles from Austin to the Mexican border.” [New York Times,3/2/06]

 

Medellin V. Texas

Cruz Said He Was The Most Proud Of The Medellin V. Texas Case.  According to the Washington Post, “He says he’s proudest of his work in Medillin v. Texas, in which the state fought the Bush administration over the execution of a Mexican citizen.” [Washington Post, 8/1/12]

  • Medellin V. Texas Case Involved Texas Fighting The Bush Administration Over The Execution Of A Mexican Citizen.  According to the Washington Post, “He says he’s proudest of his work in Medillin v. Texas, in which the state fought the Bush administration over the execution of a Mexican citizen.” [Washington Post, 8/1/12]

Cruz Argued That The Executive Branch Did Not Have The Power To Use A “Treaty To Enforce A Decision Of The Federal Government.” According to the Huffington Post, “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), fresh off firing up conservative crowds in Iowa and Texas by defending his push to defund Obamacare, came to The Heritage Foundation Wednesday for a much more academic talk on the power of treaties in U.S. law. The Texas senator, who was solicitor general of the state and graduated from Harvard Law School before being elected in 2012, argued that the executive branch does not have the power to use a treaty to enforce a decision of the federal government. In doing so, he was articulating a more limited view of executive power. ‘No matter what you think of the president, the president does not have the authority to inflict and make laws off the books, on whim and judgement [sic],’ he said. ‘Whether you like it or not, it is unequivocal that the president of the United States doesn’t have the authority under our constitutional system to simply decree it by will.” [Huffington Post, 10/30/13]

Cruz Argued That Texas Did Not Have To Comply With The Vienna Conventions, Which Gave Medellin The Right To Contact His Consulate After Being Arrested And Eventually Sentenced To Death. According to the Huffington Post, “That unified the left and the right in Medellin, saying, regardless of who the president is, we don’t want that much power delegated to the president.’ Cruz cited Medellin v. Texas, where he argued in front of the Supreme Court that the state did not have to comply with the Vienna Conventions in informing Mexican national Jose Medellin of his right to contact his consulate after being arrested for a double murder, a charge for which he was later convicted and sentenced to death. The case spurred Mexico to sue the United States in the International Court of Justice, which agreed that 51 Mexican nationals had a right to see their cases reviewed because they had not been informed of their rights. The Bush administration agreed with the ICJ and ordered reviews. However, the Supreme Court found Cruz’s arguments more persuasive and ruled against Bush by a 6-3 margin.” [Huffington Post, 10/30/13]

Cruz Expressed Pride In The Fact That Texas Went Before The United States Supreme Court To Argue That “No President Has The Authority To Give Away U.S. Power.” According to the Huffington Post, “Unfortunately there the president who made an assertion of over-broad federal power was George W. Bush. He’s a Republican. He’s a former governor of the state of Texas,’ Cruz said. ‘And yet, I’m very proud that the state of Texas went before the U.S. Supreme Court and said, no president — even if he is the former governor of Texas and a Republican — no president has the authority to give away U.S. power.’” [Huffington Post, 10/30/13]

 

Death Penalty

Cruz Argued That Texas Should Be Allowed To Execute The Mentally Ill. According to Mother Jones, “Of Cruz’s eight oral arguments before the Supreme Court on behalf of Texas, five involved the death penalty, with Cruz arguing, at various points, that Texas should be allowed to execute the mentally ill, a Mexican national who hadn’t been informed of his Vienna Convention right to speak to his consulate, and a man who raped his stepdaughter.” [Mother Jones, 10/1/12]

  • Cruz Issued A Statement Saying That Allowing The Courts To “Consider People’s Long-Term And Severe Mental Illness” Invited “Abuse From Capital Murderers” Giving False Claims. According to National Public Radio, “Kennedy wrote, ‘A prisoner’s awareness of the State’s rationale for an execution is not the same as a rational understanding of it.’ ‘The court,’ Keilen says, ‘is really saying that just being able to recite what the state of Texas intends to execute him for is not enough, that the courts have to consider people’s long-term and severe mental illness, and whether that mental illness has caused an individual to have such severe and extreme delusions that keep them from meaningfully appreciating the connection between their crime and their punishment.’ Keilen believes this ruling will affect a very small number of inmates. The Texas attorney general’s office suggested otherwise. Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said in a statement that the decision ‘will invite abuse from capital murderers, subject the courts to numerous false claims of incompetency, and even further delay justice for the victims’ families.’” [National Public Radio, 6/28/07]
  • Cruz Issued A Statement Saying The Decision Only Delayed The Justice Process. According to National Public Radio, “Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said in a statement that the decision ‘will invite abuse from capital murderers, subject the courts to numerous false claims of incompetency, and even further delay justice for the victims’ families.’” [National Public Radio,6/28/07]

 

Ten Commandments Case

Cruz Defended Case OF The The Ten Commandments Monument Case Standing On State Capitol Grounds. According to the New York Times, “In that same spot, he opens the trophy case: ‘During Ted’s service as solicitor general, Texas achieved an unprecedented series of landmark national victories.’ The list that follows includes the Ten Commandments case and others. It’s fuzzy, and it leads some to conclusions that are not harmful to the interests of a political candidate. The site includes some of Mr. Cruz’s press clippings, too. ‘We defended the Ten Commandments monument that stands on the state Capitol grounds,’ Mr. Cruz told National Review. ‘We went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we won, 5 to 4.’” [New York Times, 1/14/12]

Cruz Led The Team Responsible For Writing The Brief In The Ten Commandments Monument Case. According to the New York Times, “Here’s what he did: He led the team that wrote the brief in the Ten Commandments case. When that went to the Supreme Court, the actual presentation was shared by Mr. Cruz’s boss, Mr. Abbott, and Paul D. Clement, then the interim United States solicitor general, arguing on the state’s behalf from his federal post. Mr. Cruz’s name was on the briefs, with Mr. Abbott’s and six others, but Mr. Cruz did not make the oral arguments.” [New York Times, 1/14/12]

  • Cruz Did Not Make Oral Arguments For The Case Despite His Name Being On The Briefs.According to the New York Times, “Here’s what he did: He led the team that wrote the brief in the Ten Commandments case. When that went to the Supreme Court, the actual presentation was shared by Mr. Cruz’s boss, Mr. Abbott, and Paul D. Clement, then the interim United States solicitor general, arguing on the state’s behalf from his federal post. Mr. Cruz’s name was on the briefs, with Mr. Abbott’s and six others, but Mr. Cruz did not make the oral arguments. Mr. Clements’s name is familiar to anyone who has been following the Texas redistricting case, as Mr. Abbott hired him to present the state’s argument to the Supreme Court. Mr. Clement did that last week, arguing that political maps drawn by the Legislature should trump those drawn by federal judges in Texas. The court’s decision is pending. And he is also the lead advocate for Texas and other states that have filed suit to overturn the federal health care law. The state won that Ten Commandments case, and some of the work had Mr. Cruz’s name on it.” [New York Times, 1/14/12]

 

Medicaid For Poor Children

Cruz Argued Against Forcing Texas To Meet Its Medicaid Obligations In Order To Provide Annual Wellness And Dental Checks For Poor Children. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Cruz has acknowledged that he and other states’ lawyers missed a key point – they didn’t bring to the court’s attention a parallel death penalty that Congress had recently added to the military penal code. Cruz has said, though, that the omission didn’t affect the outcome. As Solicitor General, Cruz unsuccessfully argued in 2004 that federal judges should stop issuing injunctions to force Texas to meet its Medicaid program obligations to provide annual wellness and dental checks for poor children.” [Dallas Morning News, 7/30/12]