Amid the upcoming epic battle, it is important to first remember the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as "a trailblazing advocate, one of the finest Supreme Court litigators to have ever lived," according to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Sunday.
"She was a brilliant justice," Cruz told ABC's "This Week." "Her questions were always incisive. She was a careful lawyer. And she's led a remarkable legacy. And Heidi and I, our prayers are with her family, who are grieving the loss of someone who led an extraordinary life."
Cruz's statement was not just hyperbole but first-hand experience with the beloved Justice Ginsburg, who died Friday at age 87 from pancreatic cancer complications.
"When I was clerking for Chief Justice [William] Rehnquist, he obviously worked every day with Justice Ginsburg, and I will say he admired what a careful lawyer she was," Cruz told host George Stephanopoulos. "Consistently, of the lawyers of the left, of the judges on the left, Chief Justice Rehnquist was always most willing to give an important opinion to Justice Ginsburg because she wrote narrow, careful opinions.
"That's important. But it's also important what the justices are doing. And I believe the American people want constitutionalists."
On the topic of Democrats claiming GOP hypocrisy of nominating and approving a justice in place of RBG after turning down former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, Cruz reminded the former Democrat staffer Stephanopoulos the situations are not identical and therefore not hypocritical.
"It's a question of checks and balances," Cruz said. "In order for a Supreme Court nomination to go forward, you have to have the president and the Senate – in this instance, the American people voted. They elected Donald Trump.
"A big part of the reason they elected Donald Trump is because of the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy, and they wanted principle constitutionalists on the court. And the big part of the reason why we have a Republican majority, elected in 2014, re-elected in 2016, grown even larger in 2018, a major issue in each of those elections is the American people voted and said, 'we want constitutionalist judges.'
"And so the president was elected to do this, and the Senate was elected to confirm this nomination."
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