After decades singing the same song about wanting strict constructionist judges who will follow the law and not make it, in the mold of Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, the GOP took a sharp right turn with a memorable exchange this month when Senator Ted Cruz questioned District Court Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden, nominated to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The senator spoke what until now had remained the unspoken subtext of Republican questioning of judicial nominations:
“A number of conservative groups have raised concerns about your record,” said Cruz. “The First Liberty Institute has said that nominating you to the Fifth Circuit is, quote, the ‘wrong pick for five reasons. He’s not a conservative. He’s never been affiliated with the conservative movement. He’s never volunteered his time to advance conservative causes. He’s never been active in conservative legal circles. And he’s never written any decisions that have advanced conservative principles.’ Is their assessment wrong?”