On Tuesday, during day two of the confirmation process for Trump Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spent most of his time giving what amounted to an irate political stump speech. Towards the very beginning of his time, he asked Barrett a handful of showy questions including why the rights enshrined in the First and Second Amendments of the Bill of Rights are important. Cruz subsequently went on a lengthy tirade in which he insisted that Democrats are attempting to fundamentally undercut the Bill of Rights and put the fundamental rights of millions of Americans in danger. This claim is hyperbolic nonsense.
‘I think all of those rights… [are] incredibly important to Americans. I also think what is really striking about this hearing… is that Senate Democrats are not defending what I think is really a radical agenda that they have when it comes to the Bill of Rights, and the topics they’re discussing today have little bearing to the rights that are really at issue and in jeopardy at the Supreme Court.’
Again — no, Democrats are not trying to undermine the Bill of Rights, although Cruz had plenty of melodramatic supposed examples of his claim anyway.
Cruz brought up the subject of Roe v. Wade, which had previously come up during the hearing. Cruz seemingly tried to suggest that overruling Roe, which legalized abortion across the country, would not be as bad as Democrats and women’s rights advocates more broadly have suggested. He noted that overturning the ruling would turn abortion into a question to be decided at lower levels — and he failed to mention that numerous Republican states would likely rush to dramatically restrict abortion and thereby curtail women’s rights to handle their own bodies in this country.
Cruz says if Roe v. Wade is overturned, then abortion would not become illegal across the country, just become an issue sent back to the states. He notes that states like NY and CA would not have their abortion rights infringed. Does not mention states that restricted abortion.
— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) October 13, 2020
Cruz suggested that Democratic Senator-supported picks for the U.S. Supreme Court would allow “unlimited abortion on-demand” — which is nonsensical hyperbole.
Cruz subsequently went on an impassioned screed about the issue of campaign contributions. He spoke in defense of the infamous Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court case, which ended in a conclusion that the federal government was prohibited from limiting independent political spending by corporations. Cruz suggested that those who supported these limits sought to somehow muzzle free speech, which misrepresents reality. Actually, at issue is the fact that corporations could be providing de facto campaign support with their political spending, thereby enacting a sort of unencumbered web of corporate support for particular politicians.
Then-associate Justice John Paul Stevens concluded that the Citizens United decision represented “a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government.” The point of the opposition to the ruling is not some kind of conspiracy to stop the organic expression of grassroots political speech. The point is to try and stop corporate takeover of political processes. Cruz said that Democrat-supported Supreme Court nominees “will take away your right to criticize politicians,” but again — this claim is not representative of the reality of the situation. It’s simply not. Cruz and his fellow Republicans are resorting to deceptive fearmongering.