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Sotomayor Critic Ted Cruz Used to Love Injunctions—When They Targeted Obama


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has a reputation for dishonesty, according to President Donald Trump once upon a time. The junior senator’s latest behavior isn’t likely to flip the script on that hard-earned pejorative.

On Tuesday, Cruz criticized Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her recent highly-publicized dissent, in which she criticized conservative justices for essentially spending the past few terms doing the bidding of the Trump administration.

“I read it a little bit like an arsonist complaining about the noise from the fire trucks,” Cruz said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, according to Fox News’s Ronn Blitzer.

From Sotomayor’s blistering judicial call-out in Wolf v. Cook County at length:

[T]he Court—in this case, the New York cases, and many others—has been all too quick to grant the Government’s “reflexiv[e]” requests. But make no mistake: Such a shift in the Court’s own behavior comes at a cost.

Stay applications force the Court to consider important statutory and constitutional questions that have not been ventilated fully in the lower courts, on abbreviated timetables and without oral argument. They upend the normal appellate process, putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won a stay…They demand extensive time and resources when the Court’s intervention may well be unnecessary—particularly when, as here, a court of appeals is poised to decide the issue for itself.

“Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others,” Sotomayor continues—referring specifically to the Trump administration. “This Court often permits executions—where the risk of irreparable harm is the loss of life—to proceed, justifying many of those decisions on purported failures ‘to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner.’ Yet the Court’s concerns over quick decisions wither when prodded by the Government in far less compelling circumstances—where the Government itself chose to wait to seek relief, and where its claimed harm is continuation of a 20-year status quo in one State. I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process that this Court must strive to protect.”

The Lone Star State senator didn’t like that much—and made pains to defend the nation’s high court by blaming the legal process itself.

“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,” Cruz said at one point—explaining that dozens of injunctions have been filed that sought to limit or block hot-button Trump administration policies.

There was also the traditional insult aimed at allegedly liberal judges allegedly behaving badly by responding to lawsuits with the offending fount of injunctive relief.

“I believe we have a handful of judges who are operating effectively as part of the resistance movement, putting themselves in the way of Trump policies they happen to disagree with,” Cruz said.

So, Ted Cruz, principled opponent of injunctions, right? Not so much.

Rather, the junior Texas senator didn’t show anywhere near the same disdain for injunctive relief when Barack Obama was president.

A press release on the senator’s website notes:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson questioning whether the Obama Administration plans to comply with the court’s injunction to stop President Obama’s illegal amnesty in light of President Obama’s public comments that DHS would “continue in the planning” of activities the court issued a cease and desist order to stop.

“Violating an unambiguous federal court order by defying its instructions to cease and desist a particular activity would represent a significant breach of your authority, and would be an escalation in abuse of our separation of powers,” Cruz said in a statement in early 2015. “For a President and his cabinet to telegraph intent to violate a federal court order requires additional scrutiny from Congress.”

What a coincidence.

[image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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