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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

 
Cruz's death count

by digby
























Cruz should use this  New York Times article in an ad in Iowa and South Carolina. I'll bet he could coax some of those Trumpies who cheer madly every time he pantomimes the summary execution of Bowe Bergdahl over to his side if they knew what a bloodthirsty advocate of the death penalty he was:
The memos of Supreme Court clerks evaluating death row petitions usually consist of a brief review of the facts and then a dispassionate legal analysis as to whether the court should hear the case.

Not so for Ted Cruz.

Mr. Cruz, the most ardent death penalty advocate of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s clerks in the 1996 term, became known at the court for his signature writing style. Nearly two decades later, his colleagues recall how Mr. Cruz, who frequently spoke of how his mentor’s father had been killed by a carjacker, often dwelled on the lurid details of murders that other clerks tended to summarize in order to quickly move to the legal merits of the case.

“That I think was a special interest of his,” said Renée Lerner, then a clerk for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who said she was impressed with how deeply Mr. Cruz delved into the facts and history of a murder case. “It was unusual for a Supreme Court clerk to do that.”

Other clerks, however, had a less admiring view of his interest. In interviews with nearly two dozen of Mr. Cruz’s former colleagues on the court, many of the clerks working in the chambers of liberal justices, but also several from conservative chambers, depicted Mr. Cruz as “obsessed” with capital punishment. Some thought his recounting of the crimes — “dime store novel” was how one described his style — seemed more appropriate for a prosecutor persuading a jury than for a law clerk addressing the country’s nine foremost judges.

Melissa Hart, who clerked for one of the liberal justices, John Paul Stevens, said Mr. Cruz’s memos on death penalty appeals basically boiled down to “frivolous, meritless, deny,” and added that his writing approach “made a lot of people really angry.”

In Mr. Cruz’s time as a Supreme Court clerk, a coveted step in a legal career that he had meticulously plotted out, he showed his now familiar capacity to infuriate colleagues. He also worked hard to please his powerful boss, delved into the nuances of constitutional law for long, grueling hours and sought to smooth over harsh feelings at clerk happy hours.

But when he left, he was most remembered by his fellow clerks for his fervor for capital punishment cases, a cause that would define his legal career and help him break into politics.

“I believe in the death penalty,” Mr. Cruz wrote in his book “A Time for Truth.” As he saw it, it was his duty to include all the details and “describe the brutal nature of the crime.”

“Liberal clerks would typically omit the facts; it was harder to jump on the moral high horse in defense of a depraved killer,” he wrote.

I'm going to guess he also just liked to wallow in the lurid details. It's a common right wing characteristic.

He really is creepy. He was he protege of hardcore wingnut federal judge Michael Luttig, once considered a shoo-in for the Supreme Court and now a Boeing executive (no kidding.)

Mr. Cruz became devoted to Mr. Luttig, whom Mr. Cruz has described as “like a father to me.” During his clerkship, he presented his boss with a caricature of him and other clerks pulling a stagecoach driven by the judge. According to someone who saw the illustration, there was a graveyard behind them with headstones representing the number of people executed in their jurisdiction that year.


Ew. I guess I can see why the establishment would recoil. But they're the ones who created the atmosphere that bred this monster. What did they think would happen?

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