During last night’s GOP debate, as he was rewriting history about his well-documented support for John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated his line that Republican presidents have consistently failed the party’s conservative base by putting insufficiently right-wing justices on the bench.
After deriding Roberts’ nomination, the Texas Republican criticized the nomination of David Souter, insisting that George H.W. Bush should have picked Edith Jones, a Reagan-nominated judge on the Fifth Circuit Court, instead.
Cruz’s admiration for Jones should raise eyebrows, as she has a lengthy record of extremism. Jones’ views also offer us a glimpse of what kind of judges a President Cruz would attempt to put on the federal bench:
- Jones faced a misconduct complaint from civil rights groups after she reportedly suggested that minorities are “predisposed to crime” during a speech to law students. (The complaint was later dismissed by a judicial conduct committee.) The Associated Press reported:
The complaint alleges that Jones said certain “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” and that they are “prone to commit acts of violence” and be involved in more violent and “heinous” crimes than people of other ethnicities. The judge also allegedly said Mexicans would prefer to be on death row in the U.S. than serve prison terms in their native country, and that it’s an insult for the U.S. to look to the laws of other countries such as Mexico.
- She denounced “equal rights laws” as harmful to society:
Although the 1964 Civil Rights Act contributed to the advancement of women’s careers in society, I would have to defer to others for an overview of the impact of these equal rights laws, when balanced against factors such as the increase of out of wedlock births, the prevalence of divorce, the sexualization of society and the youth. Women’s ‘rights,’ in the end, depend heavily on what goes on outside as well as in the workplace.
- She criticized employment discrimination cases as unnecessary and ripe for abuse:
Seldom are employment discrimination suits in our court supported by direct evidence of race or sex-based animosity. Instead, the courts are asked to revisit petty interoffice disputes and to infer invidious motives from trivial comments or work-performance criticism. Recrimination, second-guessing and suspicion plague the workplace when tenuous discrimination suits are filed creating an atmosphere in which many corporate defendants are forced into costly settlements because they simply cannot afford to vindicate their positions.
- She held up the death penalty up as a way to let inmates “make peace with God” while insisting that “defenses like mental competence and actual innocence are ‘red herrings.’” Jones also “famously told a defense lawyer that his last-minute appeal in a death sentence case was ruining her cocktail hour.”
- She lamented that America’s legal system is losing its focus on divine instructions:
The first 100 years of American lawyers were trained on Blackstone, who wrote that: ‘The law of nature, dictated by God himself, is binding in all counties and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all force and all their authority from this original.’ The Framers created a government of limited power with this understanding of the rule of law – that it was dependent on transcendent religious obligation…. Having lost sight of the moral and religious foundations of the rule of law, we are vulnerable to the destruction of our freedom, our equality before the law and our self-respect. It is my fervent hope that this new century will experience a revival of the original understanding of the rule of law and its roots. The answer is a recovery of moral principle, the sine qua non of an orderly society. Post 9/11, many events have been clarified. It is hard to remain a moral relativist when your own people are being killed.