Politics

Ted Cruz Used a Dangerous Lie to Threaten to Block SCOTUS Nominees

The Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia ignited months of tension between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans, who have maintained that the next president should name a replacement.

Now some Republican senators have suggested the stonewalling could extend past Election Day if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is elected.

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, addressed the court vacancy at a Wednesday campaign event for Colorado Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn.

Cruz answered a query about whether a Republican Senate should vote on any Clinton nominees, The Washington Post reported.

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"You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue," Cruz said.

Cruz further suggested that it is in the country's best interest to keep the seat open.

"There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices," Cruz said. "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."

Cruz may have lied about or mischaracterized Justice Breyer's comments, The Daily Beast reported:

"First, Cruz misquoted Justice Breyer, who had said, in a television interview, that 'the mechanics works about the same' with a 4-4 split as with a 5-4. That's not saying anything about the court's ability to do its job. It's an accurate depiction of the court's ideological split. As we saw at the end of last term, the court sometimes split 5-3 when Justice Kennedy voted with the liberal wing and tied 4-4 when he voted with the conservative wing. The latter situation, in which the court leaves the lower court's ruling intact, can be functionally similar to a 5-4 vote.

"But it would be preposterous to understand Justice Breyer as commenting on the 'ability of the court to do its job.' That's not what he was talking about at all."

A deadlocked Supreme Court makes it extremely difficult to govern, The New Yorker reported.

The court's deadlock "dealt President Barack Obama a harsh defeat" in an April immigration reform case that would have helped illegal immigrants become citizens and acquire work permits, Business Insider reported.

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The Senate's inaction discourages bipartisan efforts at compromise and has even been deemed a "judicial emergency."

Social media blasted Cruz's position, considering his background in constitutional law and his supposed constitutionalist views.

ATTN: reached out to Cruz for comment on this story and will update it when we receive a response.