Ted Cruz on Crime
Republican Texas Senator
I would make a point of doing something the liberal clerks who opposed capital punishment rarely did-- simply describing the brutal nature of the crime for which the defendant had been convicted. The appeal would go to the full Court for a vote. Each of the other eight clerks would call their justices at home, wake them up, and then the justices would each vote on the appeal that night.
I still don't understand why the justices tolerate this gamesmanship, which diminishes respect for the rule of law.
This gamesmanship diminishes respect for the rule of law. It would be a simple matter for the Court to issue rules saying that all applications for stays must be filed at least one week before the execution date. Or, even a single justice could simply announce publicly that he or she would not vote to stay any execution if the stay application were filed less than a week earlier. That would allow, fair, careful, reasoned consideration of the legal claims, not haphazard skimming at midnight. The rule could exclude claims of actual innocence--which could be filed at any time whatsoever--but the vast majority of capital defendants make no claims of innocence.
To be fair, when it came to leaving work at the hospital steps, I wasn't completely innocent. During much of the time we were there, I was studying cases for an oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for two days later. I was appearing in support of a Louisiana law that allowed capital punishment for the very worst child rapists. It was a horrible case, where a 300-pound man had brutalized has seven-year-old stepdaughter. So just hours after Caroline was born, I said a prayer of thanksgiving, kissed my beautiful wife and baby daughter, rushed to the airport, and flew to Washington to argue the case.
Some caricatures suggest that a conservative would be reluctant to represent a convicted murderer. That may be true, if the client is clearly guilty. But John Thompson was innocent. And critical to supporting the death penalty is ensuring that we vigorously protect the innocent. DNA has enabled many guilty persons to be convicted, and it has proven the innocence of many others.
Perhaps most importantly, Congress should enact legislation that requires the government to prove the defendant knowingly violated the law--or that, at least, allows a mistake of law defense--for certain classes of crimes that have no analog in the common law or that no reasonable person would understand to be inherently wrong. Where the government has criminalized non-blameworthy conduct for regulatory purposes, ignorance of the law should be a valid defense to criminal liability.
Ted successfully represented Texas in Medellin v. Texas [a capital case which resulted in the 2008 execution of Jos‚ Ernesto Medellˇn], which upheld US sovereignty and held that the World Court cannot bind the US justice system.
Cruz successfully defended the constitutionality of Texas Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment law before the Texas Supreme Court, allowing the state to fully monitor predators determined to threaten children.
Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Capital punishment for certain crimes, such as first degree murder & terrorism"
Congressional Summary: Makes the killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other first responder an aggravating factor in death penalty determinations [when] the defendant killed or attempted to kill a person who is authorized by law:
Opposing argument: [Sen. Bernie Sanders, Oct. 13, 2015]: "Black lives matter. The African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and three days later she's dead in jail. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major reforms in a broken criminal justice system. I intend to make sure people have education and jobs rather than jail cells."
Opposing argument: [ACLU of Louisiana, July 7, 2015]: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that makes targeting a police officer a hate crime. Passage of such bills is a top priority for a national organization called Blue Lives Matter, which was formed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. [A video captured] "police killing a black man who was minding his own business," says the director of ACLU-LA. But it was the civil rights of police officers that Edwards was concerned about, as if theirs were being routinely violated: "I'm not aware of any evidence that police officers have been victimized that would justify giving them special protection."
Ratings by the National Association of Police Organizations indicate support or opposition to issues of importance to police and crime. The organization's self-description: "The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States. NAPO was organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of America's law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy, political action, and education.
"Increasingly, the rights and interests of law enforcement officers have been the subject of legislative, executive, and judicial action in the nation’s capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPO’s accomplishments:
VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:
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About Ted Cruz: