Ted Cruz was scorching.
The Texas senator, one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill, launched a blistering critique of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday in response to Sotomayor’s complaint that the Trump administration had come to the high court too often to settle disputes.
Sotomayor’s carping, Cruz said, sounded “a little bit like an arsonist complaining about the sound of the fire trucks.”
— Marley Cecilio (@marley29671186) February 25, 2020
If the administration had not been faced with an unprecedented level of “resistance” from the judicial branch at lower levels, Cruz said in a scathing statement on Tuesday, it would not have been forced to seek help from the Supreme Court so often.
But Cruz had more than righteous indignation on his side – or Sotomayor’s judicial pique. He had cold, hard facts to back it up.
The moment occurred during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the prevalence of “universal injunctions” – described in a January Harvard Law Review article by University of San Diego law professor Mila Sohoni as rulings issued in one federal district court that are intended to apply to all courts in the country.
Sohoni was a witness at Tuesday’s hearing, according to The National Law Journal, as was Jesse Panuccio, a former top official in the Justice Department under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now in private practice in Washington.
Check out Cruz’s statement here:
On Friday, according to The New York Times, Sotomayor dissented from a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a lower court decision preventing a Trump administration rule from taking effect. The rule intended to bar immigrants likely to end up on public assistance after taking up residence in the country.
The overturned ruling applied only to the state of Illinois, according to The Times, and Sotomayor’s dissent argued that the Supreme Court should have waited for the case to work its way up through normal judicial channels before it addressed it on a national level.
But she went further than a merely technical dissent. She lashed out at both the Justice Department and her colleagues on the court, implying that the Trump administration’s success at the Supreme Court level implied some sort of bias among her fellow justices.
“It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it,” Sotomayor wrote.
“Claiming one emergency after another,” she wrote later, “the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming limited Court resources in each. And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow.”
To Cruz, it was Sotomayor’s complaints that rang hollow – or like his metaphorical arsonist griping about fire trucks.
While Sotomayor’s complaint in the Friday case dealt with a ruling that covered only the state of Illinois, Cruz said judicial obstruction to Trump initiatives on a national level was really what was driving the action at the Supreme Court.
If Sotomayor doesn’t like the high court being bothered by Justice Department appeals, he suggested, she has only her liberal brethren on lower courts to blame.
“If you look to the facts of what’s happening with nationwide injunctions, I think it will explain why the Department of Justice has had to ask the Supreme Court to intervene over and over again,” he said.
One-third of all nationwide injunctions have come from California courts, he said, while courts in two-thirds of the states have produced “zero” nationwide injunctions.
“So you have a handful of courts that are driving this,” he said.
He also noted that the scale of judicial opposition to Trump policies was unlike anything seen in previous administrations.
“In the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, district courts issued a total of 12 universal injunctions against the Bush administration,” he said. “In the eight years of the Obama administration, district courts issued 19 universal injunctions against the Obama administration.
“In just three years of the Trump administration, we have already had 55 national universal injunctions issued against the federal government.”
In case the math wasn’t obvious — a total of 31 nationwide injunctions over the 16 years of the Bush and Obama presidencies versus 55 in only three years of Trump in the White House — Cruz made the point crystal clear.
“The reason there are so many emergency appeals is you’ve had 55 nationwide injunctions from far too many judges who are not honoring their oath, they’re not following the law,” he said. “Instead they’re operating as partisan political activists.”
Now, it’s true that Sotomayor’s dissent did not deal with the kind of “universal injunction” that liberals have weaponized against the Trump administration. However, it’s undoubtedly true that the relentless politicization of the judiciary branch has been a principal strategy of the #Resistance throughout the Trump presidency.
Any American over the past three years would have to be deaf, blind and stupid not to be able to see that.
Trump is not any of those, which is one reason he lashed out at Sotomayor, along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on social media and in interviews while on a trip to India.
Sotomayor’s colleagues on the Supreme Court aren’t deaf, blind or stupid either.
Friday’s ruling allowing the so-called “public charge” rule to go into effect could well be read as a statement that the conservative majority – Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – are tired of political obstructionism, #Resistance to the Trump administration, being perpetrated under cover of a judge’s robes.
Millions of conservative Americans are – and one of them is clearly Sen. Ted Cruz.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.