Apparently still trying to steal support from Donald Trump’s “silent majority,” Sen. Ted Cruz insisted last night that while the media is reporting on the anti-choice politics of the man who attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs last week, they never report that “the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.”
“Now listen,” Cruz told Hugh Hewitt, “here’s the simple and undeniable fact. The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats. The media doesn’t report that. And there’s a reason why the Democrats for years have been soft on crime, because they go in and they appoint to the bench judges who release violent criminals.”
“They go in and they do what Barack Obama tried to do,” he continued, “which is appoint a lawyer who voluntarily represented for free a cop killer to a senior Justice Department position, that they go in and fight to give the right to vote to convicted felons. Why? Because Democrats know that convicted felons tend to vote Democrat.”
There’s a lot of bile to unpack there, from Cruz’s dismissal of the bipartisan campaign to restore voting rights to people who have served time for felonies, which disproportionately affects people of color, to his Willie Horton dog-whistle about Democrats appointing “soft on crime” judges.
But there’s one part of Cruz’s remarks that threatens to get buried under the rest of it: his boast about the Debo Adegbile episode, in which Cruz was instrumental in blocking a Justice Department nominee because of his history as a criminal defense attorney.
Back in 2013, President Obama nominated Adegbile, a longtime civil rights attorney who had previously worked at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, which had been infamously thrown off course by the Bush Administration.
Cruz spoke out on the Senate floor against Adegbile’s nomination, focusing on the attorney’s role while at the LDF representing Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer. With the LDF representing him on appeal, a federal court found that the instructions to the jury that had sentenced Abu-Jamal to death had violated the Constitution, and Abu-Jamal was resentenced to life in prison.
When Obama nominated Adegbile to the civil rights post, conservative media blasted him as a “cop killer coddler,” a refrain which helped Republicans in the Senate pressure vulnerable Democrats into voting against his nomination.
It was an ugly episode, in which politicians like Cruz essentially declared that not all criminal defendants deserve the Constitution’s guarantee of legal counsel. And it’s telling that Cruz, the self-proclaimed lover of the Constitution, brought it up in his latest ugly screed.