Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz responded Saturday to the passing of pro-life Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and said the next president should pick Justice Scalia’s replacement, not Barack Obama.
Scalia was found dead at the age of 79 earlier in the day. Scalia is one of the minority of judges on the nation’s highest court who is pro-life and supports overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
“Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement,”Cruz said on Twitter.
“Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia,” Cruz said in a statement. “A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.”
Cruz added: “As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms.”
The candidate continued his praise for Scalia, saying, He was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning.
Earlier this year, Cruz condemned the Roe v. Wade decision, which has allowed virtually unlimited abortions for four decades.
“Today, thousands of people march to the Supreme Court with heavy hearts. It is a solemn ritual, one that reminds us of the tragic loss of over 56 million unborn lives.
“Fifty-six million boys and girls who never drew a breath of air. Poets and inventors, doctors and athletes, explorers and musicians, the world is far the poorer for their loss.
“Every human life is a precious gift from God, and our law should protect innocent human life. Yet 41 years ago, the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision overturned the Texas law that prohibited abortion on demand.
“As we mourn the loss of millions of souls, we also commemorate the good work that citizens continue to do to fervently defend life. Beyond the thousands of marchers in Washington today, countless individuals are devoted to affirming life, to promoting adoption and to helping provide comfort and aid to new mothers in distress. Their efforts have continued to make significant steps towards valuing the dignity of each human life.
“This past year, we saw the horror of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of deliberately killing babies already born. The tragedy of that case can never be undone, but the fact that he was found guilty by a jury of his peers in Philadelphia is a small step towards basic human decency.
“In time, we can all hope that we can come together and create a culture of life, where every human life is protected, cherished, and respected.”
Scalia frequently talked about his views on abortion and the high court case that allowed for unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.
“You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it,” he said in an interview previously with California Lawyer.
For those wanting to make abortion legal, “Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Scalia often reiterated his position that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment doesn’t guarantee equal protection for women in a way that could be construed as allowing abortion on demand.
Scalia told the California Lawyer publication that, while the amendment doesn’t offer equal protection for women, state legislatures are free to legislate such protections. He said the amendment, when it was adopted, was not intended to offer legal protection for women. Abortion advocates have used it to constitutionally justify legal abortions.
“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex,” Scalia said. “The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.”
“If indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society,” he said. “If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box.”
Scalia was considered to be one of the four justices most likely to support overturning Roe if a case reached the high court. Justice Clarence Thomas has also publicly expressed his desire to overturn the 1973 decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito have already issued one abortion opinion overturning a previous Supreme Court decision allowing partial-birth abortions and overturning a partial-birth abortion ban claiming it required a health exception. Their decision to reverse and affirm Congress’ findings that abortion is never necessary to protect women’s health is seen as an indication they may be willing to overturn Roe as well.
Together, the four comprise a minority of four justices compared with the pro-abortion majority for Roe, which includes Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has gone along with limits on abortion but has not shown any indication he would side with those favoring overturning Roe.