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Sen. Cruz on Supreme Court: Judging Is Not a Game

On Senate Floor, condemns SCOTUS decision on DACA, Chief Justice Roberts’ pattern of lawless gamesmanship

June 18, 2020

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on The Constitution, today delivered remarks on the Senate Floor following the Supreme Court's decision regarding DACA.

WATCH: Cruz Condemns SCOTUS Decision on DACA, Chief Justice Roberts' Pattern of Lawless Gamesmanship

Condemning the Supreme Court's decision, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, Sen. Cruz said:

"Mr. President, today's decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California is disgraceful. Judging is not a game. It's not supposed to be a game. But sadly, over recent years, more and more, Chief Justice Roberts has been playing games with the Court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires."

"This case concerned President Obama's executive amnesty. Amnesty that President Obama decreed directly contrary to federal law. He did so with no legal authority. He did so in open defiance of federal statutes. And of course, he was celebrated in the press for doing so.

"Obama's executive amnesty was illegal the day it was issued and not one single justice of the nine Supreme Court justices disputed that. Not a one. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion joined by the four liberal justices on the Court. This is becoming a pattern."

He added:

"The fact that elites in Washington don't see a problem with illegal immigration doesn't answer the reality for millions of working men and women who do. And these kind of games ultimately make a mockery of the rule of law. They make a mockery of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. To same legerdemain, we saw Chief Justice Roberts do several years ago, upholding Obamacare where, again, just with a little flip of the wrist, he changed a penalty into a tax. That's not clever. That's lawless.

"This decision today was lawless, it was gamesmanship, and it was contrary to the judicial oath that each of the nine justices has taken."

Read the full transcript of Sen. Cruz's remarks below.

"Mr. President, today's decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California is disgraceful. Judging is not a game. It's not supposed to be a game. But sadly, over recent years, more and more, Chief Justice Roberts has been playing games with the Court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires. This case concerned President Obama's executive amnesty. Amnesty that President Obama decreed directly contrary to federal law. He did so with no legal authority. He did so in open defiance of federal statutes. And of course, he was celebrated in the press for doing so.

"Obama's executive amnesty was illegal the day it was issued and not one single justice of the nine Supreme Court justices disputed that. Not a one. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion joined by the four liberal justices on the Court. This is becoming a pattern.

"The majority assumes that DACA, Obama's executive amnesty, is illegal. And then bizarrely holds that the Trump administration can't stop implementing a policy that is illegal. Think about that for a second. And in fact, it's even worse.

"The majority explicitly concedes, ‘Of course the administration can stop an illegal policy.' All parties agree. That's a quote. All parties agree that quote, ‘DHS may rescind DACA.' Okay. Easy. Everyone agrees. DHS can rescind DACA, right? Not so fast. A clever, little twist.

"The majority says, ‘You know what? The agency's legal explanation wasn't detailed enough. Yeah, you got the authority to do it. Everyone agrees there's no argument that you don't have the authority to do it. But we're checking your homework and you know the memo you wrote explaining it just didn't have all the detail we need. Just a touch more so start over.' What's interesting, Mr. President is that is exactly the sleight of hand that Chief Justice Roberts did almost exactly a year ago today.

"In another case, where the Chief joined with the four liberals from the Court and struck down another one of the Trump administration's policies. In that case, a year ago, the Commerce Department, which is charged by the Constitution with conducting a census every 10 years. The Commerce Department wanted to ask a common-sense question, the course of the census. ‘Are you a citizen of the United States?' That's a question that has been asked in nearly every census since 1820. It ain't that complicated asking someone in the course of a census, ‘Are you a citizen?' But in today's politically fraught world, the Democratic Party has decided they are the party of illegal immigration, as is the press. And so what did John Roberts do a year ago? Same thing. Wrote an opinion, said, ‘Of course, the Commerce Department has the authority in the census to ask if you're a citizen. Of course, they have. We've done it since 1820.' For those who are math impaired, that's 200 years ago. And steadily since then every 10 years over and over and over again.

"But no, no, no, no, John Roberts, little twist of hand. ‘You know what, the Commerce Department didn't explain their reasoning just clearly enough.' We looked at their memo announcing it. Announcing that they were making a policy decision that questioned legal authority to do. That Bill Clinton had asked that question. The Bill Clinton administration. But, John Roberts and the four liberals are going to strike it down because they say it wasn't explained clearly enough. Mr. President, this is a charade. Last year they pretended it was just about the agency could go back and do it again. They knew full well there wasn't time to do it again.

"But they had to start the census and so they got the result they wanted. They didn't like as a policy matter asking this. There is no legal reason, no legal authority to strike it down. So they play a little game, ‘go back and start over.'

"And of course, now we're doing the census without asking that question. That's the same game here today in DACA. They don't like the policy, so they say, ‘Just go back and do it over, just give a little more explanation, just start over.' Everyone knows the game they're playing. They're hoping that in November, in the election, that there's a different result in the election. That there's a new administration that comes in that decides amnesty is a good thing. And so this sleight of hand is all about playing policy. Five justices today held that it was illegal for the Trump administration to stop breaking the law. That's bizarre. And the reasoning is because the Obama administration violated federal immigration laws, ‘for now - wink, wink - let's pretend,' because that's what they're doing is pretending, ‘Trump has to continue violating the law and behaving illegally.' Mr. President, Chief Justice Roberts knows exactly what he's doing.

"We saw earlier this week a decision rewriting Title VII of our civil rights laws. Rewriting Title VII, the prohibition on sex discrimination, on discrimination against women or against men, rewriting it to add sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, as a policy matter, there are a lot of people that support that. Indeed, legislation to do that has passed the House of Representatives twice. It's passed this body once, but the Court just rewrote it. The Court just engaged in legislation, plain and simple, as Justice Alito powerfully wrote in dissent. By the way, Chief Justice Roberts, again in the majority, assigned that majority. This is gamesmanship. Chief Justice Roberts knows exactly what he's doing.

"The fact that elites in Washington don't see a problem with illegal immigration doesn't answer the reality for millions of working men and women who do. And these kind of games ultimately make a mockery of the rule of law. They make a mockery of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. To same legerdemain, we saw Chief Justice Roberts do several years ago, upholding Obamacare where, again, just with a little flip of the wrist, he changed a penalty into a tax. That's not clever. That's lawless.

"This decision today was lawless, it was gamesmanship, and it was contrary to the judicial oath that each of the nine justices has taken. I yield the floor."

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