During the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who argued plenty of cases before that august body, lacerated the accusations Democrat Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse made at the hearings just prior to Cruz in which Whitehouse articulated a labyrinthine conspiracy theory involving Barrett’s nomination and so-called “dark money.”
Cruz pointed out that the substantial majority of “dark money” went to Democrats in the last presidential election, blasting Whitehouse with facts, then added that Wall Street and Fortune 500 companies had donated far more money to Joe Biden then President Trump for 2020.
Cruz then turned to the case of Citizens United, which revolved around a movie criticizing Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration’s determination to ban it, to make the point that unlike Hillary Clinton, who had said in her run for the presidency that any judge she nominated for the Supreme Court would have to promise to overturn the case, the Trump administration had not asked Barrett to commit to any decision on any case when President Trump nominated her.
Cruz stated, “How about free speech? Well, we’ve heard quite a bit about free speech. The senator from Rhode Island just gave a long presentation, complete with lots of charts. I’ll say a couple of things on free speech. First of all, our Democratic colleagues, when they address the issue of so-called ‘dark money’ in campaign finance contributions, are often deeply, deeply hypocritical and don’t address the actual facts that exist.”
“Here are some facts: of the top twenty organizations spending money for political speech in the year 2016, fourteen of them gave virtually all their money to Democrats and another three split their money evenly, so only three of the top 20 gave money to Republicans,” Cruz fired. “What did that mean in practice? That meant the top 20 super-PAC donors contributed $422 million dollars to Democrats and $189 million to Republicans. Those who give these impassioned speeches against ‘dark money’ don’t mention that their side is funded by ‘dark money’ with a massive differential. The senator from Rhode Island talked about ‘big corporate powers’ without acknowledging that the contributions from the Fortune 500 in this presidential election overwhelmingly favor Joe Biden and the Democrats. Without acknowledging that the contributions from Wall Street in this election overwhelmingly favor Joe Biden and the Democrats.”
“It’s an awful lot of rhetoric about power,” Cruz continued. “But it gets even more interesting when you look at Supreme Court nominations. We just heard an attack on the Federalist Society, a group that I’ve been a member of for over 25 years — I joined as a law student. It’s a group that brings conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists together to have robust discussions about the constitution and about the law. What’s interesting is nowhere in the senator of Rhode Island’s remarks was any reference to a company called Arabella Advisors, which is a for-profit entity that manages non-profits, including the 1630 Fund and the New Venture Fund.”
“Now what on Earth are those?” Cruz asked. “Those sound like awfully dark and confusing names. Well, according to The Wall Street Journal this Sunday, in the years 2017 and 2018, those entities reported $987.5 million in revenue. That’s nearly a billion dollars. We heard a lot of thundering indignation at what was described as $250 million of expenditures. In this case, you’ve got a billion dollars. The senator of Rhode Island said that that much money, much of which is dark money that we don’t know who contributed it, he asked, ‘What are they getting for it?’ And by the way, one of the things they’re getting for it is a group called Demand Justice, a project of those entities. Spent $5 million opposing Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and has just launched a seven-figure ad buy opposing your confirmation.”
“So all of the great umbrage about the corporate interests that are spending dark money is wildly in conflict with the actual facts that the corporate interests that are spending dark money are funding the Democrats by a factor of 3 to 1 or greater,” Cruz explained. “A fact that doesn’t ever seem to be acknowledged. But not only that. What was Citizens United about? You know, it’s interesting, most people at home, they’ve heard about Citizens United. They know it makes Democrats very very upset.”
“Citizens United concerned whether or not it was legal to make a movie criticizing a politician,” Cruz stated. “Specifically, Citizens United is a small non-profit organization based here in D.C. that made a movie that was critical of Hillary Clinton. And the Obama Justice Department took the position that it could fine, it could punish Citizens United for daring to make a movie critical of a politician. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. At the oral argument, there was a moment that was truly chilling: Justice Sam Alito asked the Obama Justice Department, ‘Is it your position under your theory of the case, that the federal government can ban books?’ And the Obama Justice Department responded, yes. Yes, it is our position that if the books criticize a political candidate, a politician, the federal government can ban books.”
“As far as I’m concerned that is a terrifying view of the First Amendment,” Cruz asserted. “Citizens United was decided five to four. By a narrow five to four majority, the Supreme Court concluded that the First Amendment did not allow the federal government to punish you for making a movie critical of a politician. And likewise, that the federal government couldn’t ban books. Four justices dissented. Four justices were willing to say that the federal government can ban movies and presumably could ban books as well.”
Cruz concluded, “When Hillary Clinton was running for president she explicitly promised every justice she nominated to the court would pledge to overturn Citizens United. By the way, Hillary Clinton said she would demand of her nominees something you have rightly said that this administration has not demanded of you, which is a commitment on any case as to how you will rule. Democrats have shown no compunction in expecting their nominees to make a promise, “Here’s how I’m going to vote on a pending case, judicial ethics be damned.”
After mentioning Demand Justice, @TedCruz drops this MOAB: "So all of the great umbrage about the corporate interest that are spending dark money is wildly in conflict with the actual facts that the corporate interests that are spending dark money are funding the Democrats." pic.twitter.com/RYTXb5jYAa
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 13, 2020
Before moving onto #2A, @TedCruz talks about the Ginsburg rule of a nominee not commenting on possible cases: "Democrats have shown no compunction in expecting their nominees to make a promise, 'here's how I'm going to vote on a pending case,' judicial ethics be damned." (4/4) pic.twitter.com/cRN2pHzym0
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 13, 2020