When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemns President Obama – a frequent occurrence – the far-right national candidate often emphasizes the rule of law. Cruz doesn’t just think the president is wrong; he thinks Obama is a tyrannical dictator who flouts legal norms.
“The pattern we’ve seen under President Obama, disregarding the law, is really one of the most troubling aspects of this presidency,” Cruz said last year. “When he disagrees with the law … he simply refuses to comply with it.” The Republican senator added that the president is “lawless.”
But that was in 2014. In 2015, Cruz sees Kentucky clerk Kim Davis ignoring court orders, ignoring Supreme Court rulings, and ignoring her oath of office – and the GOP presidential candidate sees her as some kind of hero. In a written statement released late yesterday:
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.”
Cruz’s statement went on to argue, “Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith–or be sent to jail.”
He added that Davis should face no consequences for brazenly defying federal court orders she doesn’t like.
I’m not sure what’s worse: the possibility that Cruz actually believes this nonsense or the fact that Cruz expects Americans to take his arguments seriously.
Let’s unwrap the senator’s statement a bit, because by Cruz standards, it’s an extraordinary piece of propaganda.
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny”? A judge appointed to the bench by George W. Bush issued a court order; a local official brazenly defied that order; and the judge held her in contempt of court. If Cruz genuinely believes this constitutes “tyranny,” Harvard Law School should ask for its degree back.
“Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith”? Actually, that’s ridiculous. Here’s a story of an 84-year-old Catholic nun who was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison for breaking into a nuclear facility as part of a protest. The sentence was later overturned, but Cruz didn’t raise a fuss when the nun was first taken into custody.
“I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion”? Honestly, the Obama administration doesn’t have anything to do with this. Literally, nothing. The judicial branch is an entirely separate branch of government. Senators and presidential candidates should at least try to understand this.
“Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office”? Actually, Davis isn’t being persecuted – she chose all on her own to ignore the law and court orders, knowing there would be consequences – and all kinds of Christian clerks throughout the Bible Belt have no problem complying with the law of the land in the United States.
Remember, we’re talking about a high-profile politician who specifically blasted President Obama by saying, “When he disagrees with the law … he simply refuses to comply with it.” There’s no real truth to the allegation, but Cruz nevertheless believes it’s a travesty to see an American refuse to comply with laws he or she doesn’t like – except when he believes the exact opposite.
Ted Cruz should make a choice. He can celebrate the rule of law or he can celebrate those who deliberately ignore court orders they don’t like. If the far-right senator wants to be taken seriously, he should probably avoid doing both at the same time.