Even if you think that Rafael “Ted” Cruz has a face only a mother could love or that he is conservative evil incarnate, any review of his legal career shows that it was nothing short of brilliant.
Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy in 1992. While at Princeton, he won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship.
Cruz next graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1995. While at Harvard Law, he was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
Supreme Court Clerkship & George W. Bush Advisor
After law school, Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995 and Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the United States in 1996. Cruz was the first Hispanic American to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States. Both Judge Luttig and Justice Rehnquist were giants of the conservative legal bench. These prestigious clerkships at the Circuit Court level and U.S. Supreme Court are just about the plummiest any law school graduate could possibly get.
After a brief one-year stint as a law firm associate, Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser. Cruz devised strategy and drafted pleadings for the Bush v. Gore case during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts.
After George W. Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Back in Texas — Solicitor General
Cruz then returned to his home state of Texas to serve as Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to 2008. As Solicitor General, Cruz was the state’s chief appellate lawyer. He was also the youngest, the first Hispanic, and the longest-serving, solicitor general in Texas history. As Solicitor General, Cruz argued before the Supreme Court of the United States nine times, winning five cases and losing four.
As Solicitor General Cruz aggressively looked to involve his office in conservative issues, and took on cases defending the public display of the Ten Commandments and the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, fighting to expand the death penalty to people who rape children, and defending the state’s Republican-drawn congressional districts. In some cases, such as the Heller gun dispute case from Washington, D.C., Texas had little or no direct interest. In Medellin v. Texas, Cruz also successfully defended the State of Texas against an attempt to re-open the cases of Mexican nationals whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row.
According to the L.A. Times, Cruz was criticized by some of his subordinates for a propensity for putting his cowboy boots on their desks, and forcing them to stare at his heels instead of his face as they talked. They also disputed his campaign claim of having “authored more than 80 Supreme Court briefs,” saying he left the unglamorous legal writing to others.
From 2004 to 2009, Cruz also taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.
Private Practice for Corporate Clients
After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, Cruz worked in private practice as a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. There he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national Appellate Litigation practice. In one case, Cruz represented a Chinese tire company, which was accused of conspiring to steal an American company’s proprietary mining tire designs. Some have questioned Cruz’s choice of cases as being contrary to conservative principles, but lawyers at big law firms seldom get to pick and choose their clients.
The U.S. Senate
In 2012, in what was considered a huge upset fueled by grassroots support, Cruz was elected the first Hispanic American to serve as a U.S. senator representing Texas, and is one of three Senators of Cuban descent. As a U.S. Senator, Cruz has sponsored the following legislation:
- a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
- a bill to prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States.
- bills to investigate and prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms, and to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms through straw purchases and trafficking.
- a bill to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote in federal elections.
- a bill to increase coal, natural gas, and crude oil exports, to approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and to expand oil drilling on and offshore.
- a bill to give states the sole power of regulating hydraulic fracturing, to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, and to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases.
- a bill that would eliminate all limits on direct campaign contributions to candidates for public office.
- a bill that would allow the President of the United States to deny visas to any ambassador to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests.
Lawsuits Contesting Cruz’s Eligibility to Run for President
Cruz’s substantial legal talents may come in handy in the slew of lawsuits that have been filed to contest his eligibility to run or serve as President over the question of his “natural born” U.S. citizenship. While some of those lawsuits have been dismissed, Cruz still faces open cases in other states such as … Texas!
What do you think of Ted Cruz? Does he have any chance of beating Trump?