Presidential candidate and US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is no longer such a huge supporter of Chief Justice John Roberts.
Cruz, who used to shower praise on Roberts, twice described Roberts’ recent Obamacare decisions as “heartbreaking” in a Monday morning interview with Yahoo anchor Katie Couric.
“Sadly, these will go down in his legacy as the most political decisions he’s ever made. And it is violating his oath of office. It was heartbreaking and depressing three years ago when he did it — and it was every bit as heartbreaking last week,” he said.
Cruz was referring to two decisions Roberts’ court has made. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate is constitutional. And last Thursday, it backed insurance subsidies for millions of Americans who sign up through the federal exchanges.
Cruz used to support Roberts. After then-President George W. Bush nominated Roberts for the Supreme Court in 2005, Cruz repeatedly and prominently endorsed the pick. As the Texas Tribune reported three years ago, 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.”
Speaking with Couric on Monday, Cruz said he still had respect for Roberts’ legal mind. Cruz, who has argued cases before the Supreme Court, called the chief justice a “friend” who had a fundamentally misguided approach to the Obamacare cases.
“I have long been a big fan of Chief Justice Roberts. And I will say his decision on Thursday — and his decision three years ago — twice he has participated in rewriting Obamacare. And he is such a talented lawyer and judge, that he knows exactly what he’s doing,” he said. “I think the chief justice believes somehow that by rewriting Obamacare, he’s keeping the Supreme Court out of politics.”
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