Presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) apparently used to have a very different opinion about Chief Justice John Roberts than he expressed on Thursday.
According to a 2005 Sun-Sentinel report, Cruz once praised Roberts as “one of the best constitutional minds in the country.”
Cruz reportedly made that comment while explaining why, as a domestic policy adviser for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, he brought Roberts to Florida to assist with his team’s legal battle over the controversial post-election recount.
And as the Texas Tribune reported three years ago, when Bush nominated Roberts to the Supreme Court in 2005, Cruz “was an outspoken advocate for his confirmation, calling him ‘brilliant’ and a ‘lawyer’s lawyer.'”
“As an individual, John Roberts is undoubtedly a principled conservative, as is the president who appointed him,” Cruz wrote at the time in the National Review. “But, as a jurist, Judge Roberts’s approach will be that of his entire career: carefully, faithfully applying the Constitution and legal precedent.”
Cruz, now running a fiercely conservative campaign for president, seemed to have a much different take on Roberts on Thursday when the Supreme Court issued its second major ruling protecting the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare
In a passionate statement, Cruz tore into the court’s “robed Houdinis” who “transmogrified” the law to defend President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. Roberts wrote both of the rulings Cruz criticised.
“Today’s decision in King v. Burwell is judicial activism, plain and simple. For the second time in just a few years, a handful of unelected judges has rewritten the text of Obamacare in order to impose this failed law on millions of Americans,” the senator said.
Cruz’s lengthy statement argued that the Supreme Court justices clearly screwed up and that they would have ruled against the Affordable Care Act if politics had not intervened. Cruz once clerked for then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist and, as Texas’ solicitor general, argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court.
“For nakedly political reasons, the Supreme Court wilfully ignored the words that Congress wrote, and instead read into the law their preferred policy outcome. These judges have joined with President Obama in harming millions of Americans,” he continued. “Unelected judges have once again become legislators, and bad ones at that. They are lawless, and they hide their prevarication in legalese. Our government was designed to be one of laws, not of men, and this transparent distortion is disgraceful.”
Cruz’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider on Thursday asking about the 2005 Sun-Sentinel report and whether his opinion of Roberts has changed.
If his opinion about Roberts has indeed shifted, Cruz wouldn’t be the only one. Roberts was nominated for his position by Bush, a Republican, and many conservatives criticised him for siding with the court’s liberal wing in the Obamacare ruling.
Similarly, as a senator, President Obama criticised and voted against Roberts’ confirmation in 2005. Obama likely has a very different opinion of the chief justice today.
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