News & Politics

Top GOP Lawyer Absolutely Scorches Ted Cruz: 'Most Graduates of Harvard Law School Know' Better

Ted Olson dings Cruz's proposal to revamp the Supreme Court.

Conservative attorney and prominent gay rights activist Ted Olson took a swipe at Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, saying the freshman senator had abandoned a fundamental understanding of the constitution when he suggested a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality.

Immediately following the Court’s decision, Cruz promised to keep the issue “front and center” in his campaign. ”That is very much front and center something I intend to campaign on,” he said. “And marriage and religious liberty are going to be integral, I believe, to motivating the American people to come out and vote for what’s, ultimately, restoring our constitutional system.”

Cruz subsequently proposed altering the Constitution to require Supreme Court justices to face judicial retention elections.

Olson, a former United States Solicitor General under George W. Bush, ridiculed Cruz’s plan as politically unachievable: “A constitutional amendment to change Article III of the Constitution in this fashion has virtually no chance of succeeding … I would think that most graduates of the Harvard Law School know that,” he said in an email to the Washington Post.

After arguing against him in Bush v. Gore, Olson famously joined progressive David Boies in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case affirming the overturning of California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

For his part, Cruz, who as Olson points out is a graduate of Harvard Law School, served as a law clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from 1996 to 1997 before eventually going on to become solicitor general of Texas.

Despite his Ivy League education, the freshmen senator also revealed a basic lack of understanding of world religions when he recently predicted that the Supreme Court ruling would result in the Justice Department targeting “Jewish churches” that refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

Sophia Tesfaye is the Deputy Politics Editor at Salon.

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