Ted Cruz still thinks he can be president
With an eye toward his 2024 presidential ambitions, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is staking out his extreme right territory and once again trying to make waves. He's got half a dozen senators signed onto a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent a change in the size of the Supreme Court. Yes, he only has five other senators, and yes a constitutional amendment requires support of two-thirds of each chamber of Congress and three-quarters of the individual states. He has a second proposal that would be less stringent, requiring a supermajority in the Senate to consider making changes in the size of the courts.
"Make no mistake, if Democrats win the election, they will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices to advance their radical political agenda, entrenching their power for generations, and destroying the foundations of our democratic system," he said as his party is about to ram a radically conservative, unqualified ideologue onto the Supreme Court where she'd potentially be positioned to help Donald Trump cling to office by subverting the will of the people. Cruz added that "We must take action before Election Day to safeguard the Supreme Court and the constitutional liberties that hang in the balance." That's not likely to happen, since McConnell wants to do one thing above all—get Barrett on the court—and then leave town for the remainder of the campaign.
Cruz doesn't really care about this happening, before or after the election. This isn't about the sanctity of the courts. It's about Ted Cruz wanting to be president and taking whatever hard line he thinks will get the Republican base behind him. How do we know? Here's Ted Cruz in 2016, when he wasn't just justifying the Republican blockade against President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, but about blocking a potential President Hillary Clinton's nominees: "There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That's a debate that we are going to have."
It wasn't a problem to change the size of the court four years ago, not if it meant fulfilling the number one goal of the extremist Republicans, a goal that's now within their reach—a wack-job Supreme Court majority. We've seen the lengths they'll go to to gain that, and presuming a miracle doesn't happen and Barrett advances, to preserve that. This effort from Cruz is part and parcel of that.
But it's mostly Cruz claiming his spot as Trump's inheritor for 2024, knowing that the courts will remain the key objective of those setting the Republican agenda: corporate interests and far-right evangelicals. That's where the money and the base voters, respectively, all come from. Which is one more reason for Democrats to blow it all up in 2021—get rid of the filibuster and expand the courts and cut Cruz off at the knees, figuratively.