A leading Republican litigator argued on Tuesday that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) opposition to marriage equality was reminiscent of the sentiment advanced by racists during the 1970s. Ted Olson made the accusation during an appearance on SiriusXM radio’s The Agenda.
A new New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin quotes a Cruz speech this month in which the first-term Senator condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling that effectively struck down down California’s unconstitutional Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Cruz told the Texas Republican Convention that “marriage is under assault,” adding, “You want to know what judicial activism is? Judicial activism is judges imposing their policy preferences on the words of the Constitution.”
The Agenda host Ari Rabin-Havt asked Olson, who served as President George W. Bush’s solicitor general and joined with former Al Gore campaign counsel David Boies to challenge Proposition 8, about Cruz’s remarks. Olson slammed Cruz’s thinking as “very, very sad,” “very unfortunate,” and reminiscent of the argument advanced by backed anti-miscegenation laws:
OLSON: It’s the same sort of thing that people said forty-some years ago when the Supreme Court overturned the laws of 17 states, supported by two-thirds of the population of the United States, that made it a felony to marry someone of a different race. That case, called Loving v. Virginia, is a landmark in the jurisprudence of the SC, striking down as unconstitutional a law that would have prevented the president’s mother and father from getting married and being in Virginia at the time that he was born. It’s a sad thing when people don’t understand that the people cannot vote away the rights of minorities, that people cannot engraft into their constitution provisions that discriminate against a segment of our society — whether that be persons of a particular race or nationality, or laws that discriminate against women. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of laws that have discriminated against women over the years that the Supreme Court has struck down. Ted Cruz is just plain wrong about that and it’s unfortunate because that is not and should not be the future of the Republican Party.
Olson concluded by noting that his party “should embrace conservative values which include liberty, happiness, equality for all persons, and marriage is a conservative value. Loving people, coming together, forming a stable relationship, becoming part of the community, becoming part of society. Conservatives should be in favor of that.”
Listen to the interview:
Cruz, a lawyer, ran for Senate in 2012 promising to “stand up and fight to defend liberty” and “preserve the Constitution.”