Ted Cruz says Republicans never tried to ‘rig’ the Supreme Court

Lincoln Project’s new nickname for Ted Cruz goes viral

‘Fat Wolverine’ trends on Twitter after Texas senator blasts liberal Democrats for proposing to expand Supreme Court

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 23 April 2021 16:25
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Rick Wilson of the Lincoln Project called Texas senator Ted Cruz "Fat Wolverine", a moniker that went viral after Mr Cruz made the claim that Republicans have never tried to "rig the game," referring to the Supreme Court.

Mr Cruz was speaking outside the court in Washington DC on Thursday when he told the assembled press: "You didn't see Republicans when we had control of the Senate try to rig the game. You didn't see us try to pack the court."

Mr Wilson noted: "Fat Wolverine doesn't understand that reality has all the receipts."

A number of liberal congressional Democrats announced a proposal last week to expand the court from nine justices to 13.

One of the co-sponsors of the bill, congressman and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler of New York, said they "are not packing the Supreme Court, we are unpacking it".

He said the bill would "restore balance to the nation's highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition".

But the bill seems to be dead on arrival as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has "no plans to bring it to the floor," and it faces an even grimmer future in the 50-50 Senate.

The "norm-breaking" referred to by both Mr Wilson and Mr Nadler involves Mr Cruz and other Republican senators blocking former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from getting as much as a hearing in 2016 when he was put forward as a possible justice after the death of Antonin Scalia. Mr Garland is now President Biden's Attorney General.

Republicans argued at the time that 2016 was an election year and the voters should get a say in who gets to pick the next Supreme Court Justice. A precedent they wholly ignored as they pushed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court on 27 October, only a week before the 2020 election.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has argued that there was nothing wrong with either action as Republicans only held the Senate in 2016, but were in control of both the Senate and the White House in late 2020.

Visiting fellow at the Brookings institution Russell Wheeler wrote in September 2020 that “as a fig leaf to obscure the hypocrisy of voting on President Trump’s election-year nominee after refusing to vote on President Obama’s in early 2016, Republicans have claimed an historical norm that doesn’t exist”.

Mr Cruz also indicated in 2016 that if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had won that year's election, Republicans could have sought to block her from filling the ninth seat on the court indefinitely.

"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," Mr Cruz said at the time.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Cruz for comment.

Twitter users were quick to join in the mockery of Mr Cruz.

One account holder referred to Mr Cruz’s beard as “that sewer drain on the front of his face”.

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