Nationwide News

Letter to Secretary Tillerson requests comprehensive review of how taxpayer dollars are utilized abroad

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and five Senate colleagues wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting an investigation of U.S. funds associated with promoting democracy and governance outside of the U.S. Recent troubling reports indicate that U.S. entities, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have disbursed taxpayer funds to shape the judiciary, civil society, and political landscape of foreign countries to the benefit of left-leaning political groups at the expense of U.S. national interests. Of special concern are reports of funds going from USAID to organizations affiliated with George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations.

“It is deeply disturbing that USAID and other U.S. government agencies may be involved in disbursing taxpayer funds to extreme political groups working to force change in foreign countries in ways that are at odds with U.S. national interests and potentially harmful to U.S. relations with those nations and the stability of their governments,” Sen. Cruz said. “Specifically, Macedonia and Albania are two countries whose political development the U.S. is keen on supporting, and I am especially concerned about USAID funds going to organizations in those countries that are financed by left-wing radical George Soros. The U.S. should not be sending money to organizations that may be working under the guise of promoting legal or political reform, while actually undermining judicial independence, the rule of law, political representation by right-of-center groups, and good relations with the U.S. I hope that Secretary Tillerson will treat this matter with urgency and conduct a comprehensive review to ensure that American taxpayers are not funding a radical agenda overseas.”

The full letter may be viewed here.

Urges confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate in support of the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court. Sen. Cruz urged his Democratic colleagues who were willing to confirm Judge Gorsuch ten years ago to do so again.

“Judge Gorsuch is no ordinary nominee,” Sen. Cruz said. “Because of this unique and transparent process unprecedented in our nation’s history, his nomination carries with it a kind of super-legitimatecy in that it has been ratified by the American people at the voting booth. Neil Gorsuch is not simply the President’s nominee, it is a direction chosen by the American people and I urge my colleagues to confirm him.”

Sen. Cruz’s speech may be viewed here and a rush transcript of his remarks is below:

Mr. President, I come to the floor today to support the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. By any objective measure Judge Gorsuch is impeccably qualified. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School and awarded a doctorate from Oxford, he was a law clerk to Justice Byron White and Justice Kennedy and he has been a respected federal appellate judge for a decade. Judge Gorsuch has spent a lifetime in the law and his record indicates that he will make an exemplary justice.

Two weeks ago Judge Gorsuch testified for twenty hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His conduct before the hearing only further confirmed what his record demonstrates — that Neil Gorsuch is a principled jurist and a good man. I was glad for all of us to get that confirmation because Judge Gorsuch bears a heavy responsibility. He is being asked to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia.

In truth, I doubt that anyone could truly fill Justice Scalia’s shoes. Justice Scalia was one of a kind and his enormous impact on the law and on the court will impact this nation for generations to come. All of us miss him dearly, but I take solace in the knowledge that one of the ways in which I believe it will be easiest for Gorsuch to imitate Scalia, perhaps the most important way, is judicial humility.

Justice Scalia’s greatest strength was not his amazing wit, his mighty pen, or his larger-than-life personality, as much as we loved those parts of him. Rather it was his consistent unwillingness to accumulate power to himself and to the courts. He refused to impose his own personal policy preferences on the law, but instead understood that his role as a judge was simply to apply the law that the elected representatives of the people had enacted.

This type of judging doesn’t take other worldly talents, though Scalia had that in abundance. Instead, it takes character, integrity, humility.

Judge Gorsuch’s lengthy record and his hearing testimony demonstrate that he has those attributes as well. He understands that his role as a judge is to apply the words of the Constitution and the laws of the United States to the specific cases that come before him and nothing more. This is critical in an era when the Supreme Court has come to be seen by many for good reason as an activist court, as a super legislature that seeks to impose its own will in the place of the written law.

It is this very humility that angers so many on the Left. They don’t want someone who humbly applies the law, rather they demand nothing less than a person fully committed to enacting from the supreme court bench whatever policies the left is championing at that given moment because they know their own refuge is the courts because the American people would reject the policies at the voting booth. Judge Gorsuch is clearly not that kind of person so they have committed to opposing his confirmation by whatever means necessary, legitimate or not.

Indeed, if this were being decided on qualifications and record, Judge Gorsuch would be confirmed unanimously and we don’t have to hypothesize about that because Judge Gorsuch has already been confirmed by this body a decade ago by a voice vote without recorded dissent.

Not a single senator objected. Not Ted Kennedy, not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, not Joe Biden, and not even Democratic members who still serve in this chamber, like chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Leahy or Durbin. They did not speak out against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the court of appeals. So what changed?

The only thing that changed is that the radical Left has become angry — extremely angry — and my Democratic colleagues are worried they will get opposed from the left in their primary. That’s it. Their base demands total war, total obstruction, and they are begrudgingly bowing to this demand.

Unfortunately for them it has proven difficult to invent a tax against an obviously well-qualified judge like Judge Gorsuch. My Democratic colleagues couldn’t get any legitimate grievance to stick at the hearings last week, despite their best efforts, but it hasn’t stopped them from repeating their outlandish attacks over and over again. If the stakes weren’t so high, it might even be humorous.

But it isn’t really funny because the primary argument that the Democrats have made is dangerous. Their attack on Neil Gorsuch is a direct attack on the rule of law itself. Contrary to the foundations of our government and legal system, my colleagues from across the aisle are arguing that Judge Gorsuch is unqualified to be a justice because he allegedly failed to side with the, quote, little guy over the big guy. In their view, it is now the job of judges to reject equal protection, to take the blindfold off of Lady Justice and instead judges should put their thumbs on the scale to actively discriminate against parties based on their identity.

This notion of partisan results-oriented judging is directly contrary to the Constitutional system we have in this country. My Democratic colleagues are openly calling for judges to enforce their own political preferences from the bench and they want to use a person’s willingness or unwillingness to do so as a litmus test for who gets on the Court.

This isn’t even a jurisprudential position, it’s a political position. It’s difficult to imagine a more effective way to destroy our judicial system, the best in the world, despite its flaws, than to adopt this result-oriented approach.

Make no mistakes, the Democrats trumpeting of outcome-based judging will have consequences. Judges and potential judges nationwide will now have heard their siren call, if you want smooth sailing in a confirmation hearing, ignore the laws and the facts and pick a side that is politically correct at that moment name.

My Democratic colleagues claim to detest attacks on the independent judiciary, but there aren’t many more attacks than true Independence and impartiality than the one they are making now. The public, the people that appear in court seeking an honest tribunal have also heard this open call for bias, for prejudice, for discrimination. And I doubt they’ll soon forget it.

Luckily Judge Gorsuch stood firm at his confirmation hearing. He reaffirmed what was clear from his record, that he will not legislate his own policy preferences from the bench and that he will respect the limited role a judge plays in our Constitutional structure.

He did all of this in the face of unrelenting opposition from my Democratic colleagues who demanded that he violate his judicial oath and swear to decide certain cases and political questions in a way that they would prefer. No recent nominee to the Supreme Court has ever made such pledges and Judge Gorsuch rightfully refused to do so last week.

Their demands of Judge Gorsuch were particularly galling given that this was the most transparent process in history for selecting a Supreme Court justice.

During the campaign, Donald Trump promised the American people that, if elected, he would choose a justice in the mold of Justice Scalia. He laid — Scalia. The voters were able to see precisely who President Trump would nominate. They were able to decide for themselves if that was the future they wanted for the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, promised a very different kind of justice. She promised a liberal judicial activist who would vote to undermine free speech, to undermine religious liberty, to undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

In a very real sense, this election was a referendum on the Supreme Court. The American people could decide for themselves between a faithful originalist vision of the Constitution and a progressive liberal activist vision.

And the voters chose. Donald Trump is now President Trump, and he has kept his promise to the American people by selecting Neil Gorsuch from that list of 21 judges. Judge Gorsuch is no ordinary nominee because of this unique and transparent process unprecedented in our nation’s history, his nomination carries with it a kind of super-legitimatecy in that it has been ratified by the American people at the voting booth.

Neil Gorsuch is not simply the President’s nominee, it is a direction chosen by the American people and I urge my colleagues to confirm him. I yield the floor.

Cruz discusses Syria strikes and Gorsuch confirmation with Shannon Bream

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday appeared on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” with Shannon Bream to discuss the U.S. missile strikes in Syria and his efforts to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

 

“Syria is a humanitarian disaster,” Sen. Cruz said. “It is a total mess. After eight years of Obama’s broken redlines and weakness, we have seen Syria turned into a war zone that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees and chemical weapons, it is a bad situation. That being said, the authority to declare war under the Constitution is given to Congress. The Commander-in-Chief acted last night, and I look forward to President Trump making the case to the American people and to Congress to see what further military action should be taken, if any.”

 

When asked about how the Syria strikes will impact the United States’ relationship with Russia, Sen. Cruz discussed his optimism with the Trump administration’s foreign policy and national security teams.

 

“I think Putin, and for that matter, bad actors across the globe, the only thing they respect is strength. With eight years of Barack Obama as president, what we saw was a weak president whose word did not mean anything. Our friends did not trust us, and our enemies did not fear us. I will say that I am encouraged in the opening months of the Trump Administration about foreign policy and national security. The team that has been assembled is an excellent team. Secretary Mattis is a legendary war fighter. General McMaster in the National Security Council is a very well respected strategist. I think for dealing with Russia and Putin, having a strong president who Putin has reason to fear, I think that is a step in the right direction.”

 

When asked about the vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch, Sen. Cruz reiterated his efforts in the Senate despite unprecedented obstruction from his colleagues across the aisle.

 

“I think we need to stop for a second and reflect on where we are and what is going to impact history,” Sen. Cruz said. “Ten years from now, twenty years from now, thirty years from now what’s going to happen at 11:45 a.m. today will still be having an ongoing impact. Today, we’re going to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court – and that’s really important for the long term liberty of this country.”

 

Sen. Cruz’s appearance may be viewed here.

 ‘I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Administration in condemning this brutality…  The United States and the world community simply can’t stand idly while Syria continues crimes against humanity.’

‘I commend the President and his national security team for acting decisively and sending a clear message to Assad and our allies.’

WASHINGTON – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) reacted to last night’s airstrikes in Syria. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“I’d like to start briefly by mentioning the horrific chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria earlier this week. It was nothing short of evil, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Administration in condemning this brutality. Again we see Bashar al-Assad crossing a line, a line drawn and then ignored by the Obama Administration. The United States and the world community simply can’t stand idly while Syria continues crimes against humanity.”

“That’s why last night the Administration responded quickly and proportionately, and I commend the President and his national security team for acting decisively and sending a clear message to Assad and our allies.”

“I stand ready to work with the President and his Administration on a unified strategy to defeat Assad’s barbarism and to work toward greater stability in Syria and throughout the region.”    

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

 ‘Until now, all we’ve seen in Syria is weakness, and of course we’ve seen Putin, and Iran, and President Assad fill that space.’

‘It represents the first concrete demonstration of what this President’s foreign policy will be.’

‘I’m very happy because this judge is not only a very fine man but a very outstanding judge, and really the arguments against him really didn’t have much to do with him.’

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss last night’s missile strikes in Syria and the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Excerpts from his appearance are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

On Last Night’s Missile Strikes in Syria:

“Weakness is a provocation, and strength is a deterrence. And until now, all we’ve seen in Syria is weakness, and of course we’ve seen Putin, and Iran, and President Assad fill that space. In the meantime, as Senator McCain’s pointed out, 400,000 civilians dead, and Assad continues to use chemical weapons, which are internationally banned under law.”

“It was a welcome demonstration of America’s commitment, but what comes next is harder.”  

“It represents the first concrete demonstration of what this President’s foreign policy will be. For the last eight years, we’ve seen President Obama drawing us back, withdrawing from the international stage. But my experience is that the international community craves and really wants American leadership. But when American recedes off the international stage, it really does empower people like Putin, Assad, and the theocrats in Iran, and the world’s a more dangerous place as a result.”

On the Expected Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch Later Today:

“Well I’m very happy because this judge is not only a very fine man but a very outstanding judge, and really the arguments against him really didn’t have much to do with him.”

“The Senate has returned now to the status quo before the filibuster, where no partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice has ever been successful. So, I think it’s a good day for the Senate and great day for the country.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

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‘President Trump has, by all accounts, selected a judge with impeccable qualifications and the highest integrity. Not one of our Democratic colleagues has been able to offer a convincing argument against him, and that’s why several of our Democratic colleagues have crossed the aisle to support his nomination.’ 

‘The American people on November the 8th selected President Trump. President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch. And tomorrow we will confirm that nominee and deliver on that promise.’

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke today on the Senate floor after defeating an attempt by Senate Democrats to block Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.   Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“We have actually restored the status quo before the Administration of President George W. Bush. It was during that Administration when some of our friends across the aisle, along with some of their liberal law professor allies, dreamed up a way of blocking President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees.”

“We’ve been debating and discussing this nominee for a long time now, and the opponents of Judge Gorsuch have tried time and time again to raise objections to this outstanding nominee, a nomination that no one in the Senate opposed ten years ago when he was confirmed to a position on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

“They’ve claimed he wasn’t mainstream enough. They’ve said this was a seat that really should have gone to Merrick Garland. They’ve even accused him of plagiarism. All of these arguments have no merit whatsoever.”  

“And that much became even clearer as folks from across the political spectrum and newspapers from across the country urged our Democratic colleagues to drop their pointless filibuster and allow an up-or-down vote. What also came to light is the type of man Judge Gorsuch is: a man of integrity, a man of strong independence. In other words, exactly the kind of person you would want to serve on the United States Supreme Court.”

“President Trump has, by all accounts, selected a judge with impeccable qualifications and the highest integrity. Not one of our Democratic colleagues has been able to offer a convincing argument against him, and that’s why several of our Democratic colleagues have crossed the aisle to support his nomination… I think more would join if they didn’t fear retribution from the radical elements in their own political party.”

“We said we would let the American people decide who would select the next Supreme Court nominee and then we would vote to confirm that nominee. The American people on November the 8th selected President Trump. President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch. And tomorrow we will confirm that nominee and deliver on that promise.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

‘His character is sterling. He’s exactly what you would expect to see in a Supreme Court nominee.’ 

‘Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice, and I look forward to voting for him.’

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following video in advance of the Senate’s consideration of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court.  View the full video here.

AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement today in response to the press release issued this morning by the Board of Governors of the NCAA:

“We have always said that the Texas Privacy Act was not in conflict with the anti-discrimination goals of the NCAA and the statement they released this morning makes that abundantly clear. The NCAA statement details the principles embodied in the Texas Privacy Act which are mirrored in North Carolina’s new law.

“Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and I had a personal conversation several weeks ago with NCAA President Mark Emmert to underscore this point, noting that the legislation passed in Texas was different from North Carolina’s original legislation. The Texas Privacy Act is common-sense legislation that provides safety and privacy to women and girls and is supported by a broad majority of Texans from both political parties and every racial and ethnic group.”

To read the NCAA statement click here.

 

Today the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued its final rule to downgrade the status of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.  The rule affects both the Florida and Antillean subspecies and was pursued despite strong scientific and legal evidence that shows the downlisting of manatees is not warranted at this time.  The FWS decision leaves manatees and their habitat exposed to attacks and could ultimately preclude the species’ recovery.

“We believe this is a devastating blow to manatees,” said Patrick Rose, Executive Director for Save the Manatee Club (SMC). With regard to Florida manatees in particular, Rose stated, “FWS decided to prematurely downlist manatees without a proven viable plan for reducing record-high watercraft-related manatee deaths and without establishing a long-term plan for the anticipated loss of artificial winter warm water habitat on which more than 60% of the Florida manatee population depends.  A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee’s long- term survival. With the new federal administration threating to cut 75% of regulations, including those that protect our wildlife and air and water quality, the move to downlist manatees can only be seen as a political one.”

A manatee is rescued for Red Tide in 2013 by Tim Martell

Dr. Katie Tripp, SMC’s Director of Science and Conservation, says it is unclear why FWS chose to downlist the entire species.  “The FWS rule states that the agency estimates the total West Indian manatee population to be between 8,396 and 13,142 individuals.  When the minimum population estimate from Florida is subtracted from this estimate that leaves 1,776 to 6,522 manatees scattered in small, isolated populations throughout the Wider Caribbean. So many countries in the Antillean manatee’s range are experiencing increased habitat destruction.  Additionally, countries like Belize have seen a sharp rise in watercraft-related manatee injuries and deaths in recent years and manatees in some of these countries still die at the hands of poachers.”

Save the Manatee Club believes the FWS decision failed to adequately consider data from 2010 to 2016, during which time manatees suffered from unprecedented mortality events linked to habitat pollution, dependence on artificial warm water sources, and record deaths from watercraft strikes.

Anne Harvey Holbrook, SMC’s Staff Attorney explained that “this reclassification comes at a time when manatees are experiencing extreme and uncontrolled threats to their survival.  The decision to prematurely remove the West Indian manatee from the Endangered Species list lacks scientific justification and is not legally defensible.”

For more information on manatees, and how you can help, visit SMC’s website at savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

‘We hope our Democratic colleagues will show some independence and decide to give us an up-or-down vote for the judge. If not, we’ll do what’s necessary… to see him confirmed.”

Today U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) appeared on Fox News’s America’s Newsroom to discuss the unprecedented partisan filibuster by Democrats of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. Excerpts from his appearance are below, and downloadable video can be found here.

“Before the George Bush Administration, no one dreamed of filibustering—especially Supreme Court Justices—on a partisan basis, so this is really unprecedented. We hope our Democratic colleagues will show some independence and decide to give us an up-or-down vote for the judge. If not, we’ll do what’s necessary to give Judge Gorsuch an up-or-down and to see him confirmed.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.