Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ted Cruz & The Constitution - - Atty. William Lynch guest post

[Updated] Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said on Twitter today when endorsing Ted Cruz for President of the United States that Cruz was "a principled constitutional conservative."
I endorse , a principled constitutional conservative who can win.
Noted Milwaukee civil rights attorney William Lynch had sent me yesterday what is a timely and relevant critique that I am privileged to post:
Will Ted Cruz Restore the Constitution or Distort it?
      The first issue on Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign website is “Restore the Constitution.” Cruz is attempting to make the Constitution a major political issue in this year’s primaries. By presenting himself as the defender of the Constitution he implies that his rivals will not defend it as vigorously as he will.
     Having devoted much of my professional life to efforts to make our Constitution a reality, I am deeply concerned when its civil rights and civil liberties provisions are threatened in the name of its defense. Senator Cruz’s claim to being a defender of the Constitution should not go unchallenged. We all should critically examine what Senator Cruz, or any candidate means, by defending the Constitution.

     We must ask why does our Constitution need to be “restored”? What policy goals will be advanced in the name of defending it?  What provisions  will be defended, and what provisions will be ignored?
     In many respects, Cruz’s so called defense of the Constitution instead will weaken it.  His “defense” will not restore our Constitution, it will distort it.
     The equality provisions of the Constitution are especially vulnerable to being ignored by Senator Cruz. For example, he  sees the decision of the Supreme Court in the marriage equality case as “a judicial assault on our Constitution” and a “symptom of the disease of liberal judicial activism.” He is so upset by that case that he proposes amending the Constitution to provide for election of Supreme Court Justices.  He thinks the Justices who voted for marriage equality, especially Justice Kennedy, should be impeached for that case and for upholding Obamacare. 
     The Supreme Court, however, properly applied the equality provisions of the Constitution and its amendments when it decided the marriage equality case. It appears that imposing his religious beliefs about who can marry on others is more important to Senator Cruz than upholding the Constitutional right to equal protection of the law.
     In contrast, when it comes to the Second Amendment, Cruz considers the Supreme Court’s decision reinterpreting the Second Amendment to provide for an individual right to possess weapons a victory for defending the Constitution, not liberal judicial activism. In order to find such an individual right, however, the Court had to overturn settled precedent by ignoring the plain language of the text of the Amendment respecting service in a militia. But, for Sen. Cruz, conservative judicial activism is no disease.  
     For Senator Cruz, defense of the Constitution’s equality and religious liberty provisions does not include prohibiting  discriminatory treatment of Muslims and Muslim neighborhoods. Championing religious liberty takes a back seat. 
     Another provision ignored by Sen. Cruz is the provision of the First Amendment prohibiting laws respecting establishment of religion. While Senator Cruz claims to be a champion of religious liberty, he fails to mention the Constitution’s limit on the government imposing religious beliefs. He sharply criticizes past Supreme Court decisions prohibiting  the government from imposing religious beliefs as judicial assaults on our Constitution. Upholding  this prohibition, however, is as important as securing the free exercise of religion. They go hand in hand. Protection against imposition of religious beliefs on others, the freedom not to believe, is an essential component of religious liberty that Sen. Cruz ignores. 
     Senator Cruz also ignores the provisions of the Constitution that protect personal autonomy and privacy from government intrusion when matters of reproductive health and birth control are impacted. Defense of the Constitution should also include opposing government intrusion into peoples’ private lives. For Senator Cruz imposing his beliefs respecting  access to abortion and contraception is  more important than upholding women's personal autonomy.
      The press and all of us should question Sen. Cruz about what in the Constitution needs to be restored and what specifically that restoration will accomplish. In my opinion the Constitution does not need to be restored. It needs to be upheld.
     Our Constitution is definitely worth fighting for and defending. The contours of that fight should not be left to Senator Cruz, or to any politician. In my opinion Senator Cruz’s visions or  changing our Constitution would distort it, not restore it. We all share the  obligation to  challenge any efforts made in the name of the Constitution that will undermine it.   
William H Lynch is a Milwaukee civil rights attorney.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this.

I have an ultra-conservative son in his mid-20s who believes this nonsense. This will help me engage him!