Ted Cruz delved deep into the history books, and threw in a plug for his own forthcoming book on the supreme court for good measure, as he attempted to justify Republican efforts to move quickly to vote on Donald Trump’s choice for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor, reports Richard Luscombe.
“If you look at history, if you actually look at what the precedent is, this has happened 29 times,” the Texas senator said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, referring to election-year vacancies on the supreme court.
“There’s a big difference with whether the Senate is of the same party of the president or a different party. When the Senate has been of the same party of the president, of the 29 times, those are 19 of them.
“Of those 19, the Senate has confirmed those nominees 17 times. So if the parties are the same, the Senate confirms the nominee.
“When the parties are different, that’s happened 10 times. Merrick Garland was one of them. Of those 10, the Senate has confirmed the nominees only twice.”
Cruz’s “precedent” argument sits uneasy with Democratic critics, who point out that Republicans successfully stalled Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee after the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016, for 10 months, denying him even a hearing. Yet the same Republican Senate majority is promising a vote to confirm Ginsburg’s successor by the end of the year.
But Cruz – who made sure to reference, twice, next month’s publication of his book One Vote Away: How A Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History – insisted there was nothing partisan about it.
“It’s not just simply your party, my party,” he said. “It’s a question of checks and balances. In order for a supreme court nomination to go forward, you have to have the president and the Senate. In this instance, the American people voted. They elected Donald Trump.”
Cruz also made the case that a ninth judge needed to be seated in case the November election resulted in a contentious legal battle, similar to Bush v Gore in 2000 that ended with the supreme court installing the Republican.
“We need a full court on election day, given the very high likelihood that we’re going to see litigation that goes to the court,” said Cruz, who was part of the Republican legal team in 2000 and is one of Trump’s possible nominees.
“We need a supreme court that can give a definitive answer for the country.”