Ted Cruz: Congress Should Use ‘All Authority’ to Rein in Activist Judges

In the last congressional session, Sen. Cruz introduced a bill that would have limited the jurisdiction of federal court on marriage. When asked about similar legislation, the senator reiterated his unapologetically bold thoughts on the subject of judicial overreach.

“We should be using all legislative and constitutional authority to rein in the abuses [of activist courts],” Sen. Cruz said.

Cruz also said Congress should use its constitutionally granted power to limit courts’ jurisdiction in light of President Trump’s recent executive order suspending immigration from high-risk countries in the Middle East and Africa. “Absolutely, we should be looking at the best ways to use that authority.”

Another, quicker means of tackling the runaway judiciary, the Texas senator said, would be appointing an “army of principled constitutionalists [to bring] a generation of new leadership” to the 100-plus federal court vacancies that the Trump administration stands to fill.

While the prospect of confirming, as Sen. Cruz put it, “a generation of [Antonin] Scalias and [Clarence] Thomases” to the bench may be mouthwatering, it’ll be more difficult than the numbers suggest. As CR Senior Editor Daniel Horowitz and I pointed out just earlier this week, the rules and customs surrounding the nominations present a massive hurdle to any real transformation of the federal bench.

“California courts who have issued injunctions against the order have behaved in an activist and lawless manner,” Cruz said of the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to block Trump’s executive order. While remaining cautious about some of the more contentious portions of the order, Cruz called the “heart” of it “a commonsense step” to limit immigration from countries previously deemed security risks (by an Obama-era law), where the vetting process remains dubious at best.

“Those were not judicial decisions,” Sen. Ted Cruz said, making sure to note the Ninth Circuit did not even cite the relevant national security-related statute in question. “Those were acts of left-wing legislation that did not even pretend to be judicial.”


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