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Cruz Calls Out Smears Against Justice Thomas Ahead of Subpoenas: 'Utterly and Completely Hypocritical'

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

As Katie covered last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote later today on subpoenaing Harlan Crow, who is a friend of Justice Clarence Thomas, as well as The Federalist Society's Leonard Leo. This is only one part of the Chairman Dick Durbin's (D-IL) crusade against the U.S. Supreme Court and its conservative justices, particularly Justice Thomas, all in the name of "ethics" reform.

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Ahead of the vote, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is a member of the Committee, addressed the attacks from Democrats on Thomas during a recent episode of "The Verdict," a podcast he co-hosts with Ben Ferguson. 

As Cruz explained it, "the purpose of this subpoena is there is a concerted smear campaign directed at Justice Thomas." The senator reminded of the stories from ProPublica against the justice, have been thoroughly criticized. "And so, you've seen the stories about 'Justice Thomas flew on a private plane.' 'Justice Thomas was the guest at the vacation home of a billionaire and so he must be corrupt,'" he mentioned as examples.

That smear campaign, Cruz explained, "is utterly and completely hypocritical," pointing out that from 2004 to 2018, the nine justices took 1,306 trips," with Cruz and Ferguson emphasizing the nine people "travel a lot." Many other justices, including the liberal ones, took trips as well. 

One particularly prominent example Cruz mentioned involves former Justice Stephen Breyer, who served from 1994-2022, and who was "repeatedly float around by the billionaire Pritzker Family from Chicago." That family includes Illinois' current governor, Democrat JB Prtizker. "Justice Breyer took more reimbursed trips--219--than any other member from 2004 to 2018," Cruz also pointed out. Yet it's Thomas who the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media go after.

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It's not that Cruz doesn't think there isn't an argument to be concerned with such trips, though he asks that it be argued fairly. "Look, if you want to argue Supreme Court justices shouldn't be able to fly on trips or on private planes. Fine. If you want to talk about rules that apply to everyone. That's fine. That's a reasonable conversation," he offered. "What's not reasonable is to say, we're going to attack Clarence Thomas for doing the same thing the other eight justices are doing and we're gonna hypocritically apply rules to him that don't apply to anyone else," he said, emphasizing the hypocrisy.

Cruz gave special attention to ProPublica for their smear pieces against Thomas, though the outlet has also gone after another conservative, Justice Samuel Alito. Quoting from a June 20, 2023 article from the Daily Caller, Cruz noted the following about ProPublica and their funding:

Nonprofit news outlet ProPublica, which published multiple stories detailing, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas alleged ethics violations has many of the same donors as multiple groups actively campaigning for Thomas to be investigated or resign...

...

The Sandler Foundation, which launched Pro Publica in 2007 and is the news outlet’s largest donor, has given it almost $40 million since 2010, for general support. The Sadler Foundation has also given over $7.5 million to the campaign Legal Center since 2015, and over $6 million to the American Constitutional Society for general support since 2010, according to tax forms.

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The senator, upon reading the excerpt from the article, pointed out how "those are all rabid left-wing organizations," emphasizing again that what's going on is a "smear campaign" that is driven by left-wing billionaires. and it is funded to delegitimize the Supreme Court," in particular Thomas. As Cruz really drove home, "the left hates Clarence Thomas, and they hate him with an intensity that is different from any other conservative justice."

This includes the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Cruz pointed out. Even though Scalia "was every bit as conservative as Clarence Thomas," according to Cruz, "the left did not keep contempt on Antonin Scalia the way they do Justice Thomas."

In Thomas' case, it's because he dares to be a black conservative. "The left’s view is for a black man to dare to be conservative is an unacceptable crime is something that has to be punished," Cruz declared. The left refers to, they do magazine covers with pictures of Clarence Thomas, as an Uncle Tom, sitting at the feet of Antonin Scalia. It is bigoted. It's racist. It's a lie. It's immoral," Cruz insisted with regards to the "viciousness directed at Clarence Thomas."

While Democrats do have the votes to issue the subpoenas from the Judiciary Committee, Cruz noted "the good news" is "they don't have legal force unless they get 60 votes on the floor of the Senate, with the senator noting "the chances of that happening are zero," to applause from the live audience. 

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Cruz has also spoken out against the Democrats' treatment of Justice Thomas many times before. He also, in a previous episode of "The Verdict," pointed out that the same donors who funded the illegal pro-Hamas protest at Cannon House building last month also funded attacks on the justice. 


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