How did Ted Cruz get a law degree from Harvard?

Ted Cruz

The more I think about yesterday’s dust-up between Sens. Ted Cruz and Dianne Feinstein (see HERE), the more I am amazed at the Texas Republican’s ignorance of constitutional law.

During a committee hearing on a gun-control proposal, Cruz clearly implied that the rights afforded by the First, Second and Fourth amendments to the Constitution are absolute and unlimited.

He said to Feinstein:

I pose to the senator from California, would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment, namely, would she consider it constitutional for congress to specify that the first amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?

Let’s unpack this nonsense piece by piece:

Are there limits to First Amendment rights? Of course there are — starting, for example, with the cliche that Freedom of Speech doesn’t give you the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

And as for Cruz’s reference to books, the fact is that it’s constitutionally legitimate to ban certain sorts of tomes. I don’t suppose that Senator Ted possesses any child pornography, but if he did, he could be busted — and his broad interpretation of the First Amendment would be of no avail.

Moving on to the Fourth Amendment, if Cruz thinks there are no exceptions to the constitutional safeguard against warrantless searches and seizures, he’s mistaken. The Supreme Court has declared more exceptions than I care to enumerate here.

OK, now let’s focus on Cruz’s principal point of concern, the Second Amendment. His comment to Feinstein was fraught with the implication that there are no limits to the right to keep and bear arms. But the Supreme Court has never — ever — accorded the Second Amendment such an absolute interpretation.

As Justice Antonin Scalia, the most conservative member of the high court, wrote in the celebrated Heller case of 2008:

Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. [United States v.] Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

In retrospect, what Cruz said to Feinstein seems to have been calculated more to curry favor with his party’s far-right elements than to distinguish himself as a serious student of the Constitution.

As such, it didn’t speak well of the education he got at Harvard Law School.



  1. Neftali

    In that same case of District of Columbia v. Heller that Pat referenced, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorney generals of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down. Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    Suffice to say, his Law Degree from Harvard was well earned and he certainly knows much more about the legislative history behind the 2nd Amendment than Dianne Feinstein.

    Not that any of this really matters. The liberal gun grab has zero chance of becoming law, at least on a Federal level, in the near future.

  2. Neftali: “Liberal gun grab”? What a crock! You sound like some kind of NRA nutcase who wets the bed in fear that the gubmint is going to take away his manhood.

    And the fact that Cruz drafted an amicus brief in the Heller case doesn’t mitigate the crapola he was peddling yesterday. He didn’t distinguish himself as more knowledgeable than Feinstein about the Constitution. Quite the opposite was the case.

    This latter day McCarthyist and lying demagogue is just an overeducated wacko. I’m not surprised that you admire him so.

  3. Harvard law degree=overeducated wacko.

    Duly noted.

  4. No, doc. Right-wing extremist from Texas with a degree from Harvard Law = over-educated wacko.

    Cruz is the guy who said he knew of 12 professors at Harvard Law School who advocated the Communist overthrow of the U.S. government. That kind of nuttiness probably appeals to you.

    • Pat you are stupid! Cruz is brilliant. Hell, Obama can’t or is too ashamed to even show his college transcripts. He even snubbed his nose at $5 mill for a copy of them. Obama is a total fake and he hates America as much as his mentor Rev Wright. You liberals are so stupid!

  5. No, he is definitely not ignorant. Cruz’s amicus brief showed something more insideous. He knew exactly how wrong his consitutional assertions were, but was willing to pander such bull anyway.

    Such Nixonian duplicity.

  6. How did Obama? His records are sealed so no one will ever know.!

  7. Obama doesn’t even have a US birth certificate

  8. Pat Cunningham is an idiot

  9. Pat let’s just give up all our rights. No guns, no big pops, no cigarettes, , , , , = NO FREEDOM. We can sit around and swap food stamps with each other. lol

  10. MrApple

    ““Liberal gun grab”? What a crock! You sound like some kind of NRA nutcase who wets the bed in fear that the gubmint is going to take away his manhood.”

    You are fooling yourself if you believe that the Liberal anti-gun crowd isn’t aiming for TOTAL gun ban and confiscation. There is video proof that Dianne Feinstein, the queen of gun control, would have taken all the guns away with the 1994 Assault Weapons Bill if she could.

    “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America turn’em all in. I would have done it. I could not do that; the votes weren’t here.” Her words not mine.

    You know sometimes just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.

  11. MrApple

    expdoc says: “Harvard law degree=overeducated wacko.”

    President Obama graduated from Harvard in 1991 and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

  12. saneskeptic

    Because comparing “assault weapons” to child porn is SUCH a rational argument.

  13. Bob Jonas

    Pat got the comparison to the 1st ammendment wrong. No, you can’t yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater, and you ALSO can’t fire a rifle at someone. Those are both Using your right to cause damage. Those are, and should be illegal. But just owning a firearm is not using a firearm – it is not firing one. The comparison to the 1st is ill-conceived.

  14. Jake James

    Cruz was right. This article opinion is ridiculous. First, he is confusing a limitation of free speech with an actual crime. Child pornography became a crime as soon as the pictures were taken. Yelling fire in a theater is a threat, not a matter of free speech. Somsone could write about how much they love child porn and what they like about it and that is legal.

    As far as warrantless searches and seizures, it is illegal. They cannot use anything against you in court if it was a warrantless search. If you are going to bring up warrantless searches and seizures, then site specifics.

  15. Doc03911

    I love liberal armchair constitutional lawyers whose best rebuttles contain, “NRA Nutcases” .

  16. Jeffersonian

    I’d be shocked if there were only a dozen professors at Harvard that advocated Communist overthrow of the government.

    If you read all of Cruz’s remarks, not just those cribbed by CNN and MSNBC, you’ll see that Cruz acknowledges that Heller provides for reasonable limits to the Second Amendment. To claim he did not is either ignorant or deceptive. The question he put to Feinstein goes to the “reasonable” aspect of her bill. It isn’t reasonable for the simple reason that there does not appear to be any consistent measure of what is to be banned and what is not. And absent that rational basis, the bill is openly unconstitutional.

  17. Joan Gerding

    His condescension and the blank look on his face as Senator Feinstein spoke said all I needed to know about this person. He claims he sees communists at Harvard and gun grabs across the country – he is obviously representing a very disturbed base. I suppose we will have to suffer through four years of his McCarthyism.

  18. Pat, you know as well as anyone else that politics is now a game. Both sides play the game and both sides make inflammatory statements to garner public attention for their side through the media. Your comparisons of owning a particular type of firearm to causing a verbal public disturbance or printing child pornography are worthless. Those are specific crimes carried out through specific action. The actual equivalent would be to ban the word fire for fear someone would use it in a theater or to criminalize a child’s nakedness for fear someone will take a photo and put it into circulation.

    Beyond all of this is real truth that gun control proposals are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. A play on the emotions of the average, uninformed, non-gun owner. It’s propaganda and it’s being used for political purposes far more than public safety purposes.

    As for Ted’s claim that communists exist, and at Harvard of all places, how can you say it isn’t true? There’s no longer truth in politics and there are no boundaries. Politicians believe they are only limited by their ability to market an idea. Ethics, morality and practicality are history on Capitol Hill.

  19. Cruz is taking over where Andrew Breitbart left, more money and a small following of flat earth people.

  20. konradomelt

    Ok for all you name callers, gun banners and left wing wacos here is something to chew on. If this site will allow it to be posted. Look at this site http://www.cruz.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=341058

  21. shawnnews

    It appears you don’t have to be smart to go to Harvard. Ted Cruz is a case in point.
    Some people are good at academic work and their skills end outside of school. For example Obama and Bush are both Harvard graduates. I think Obama is just OK and I don’t like Bush. However, I really don’t like the ridiculous Jerome Corsi, conspiracy theorist, who is a Harvard graduate also.

    Obama’s records are not sealed. They are private like everyone else’s transcripts.


  22. “the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

    This right here shows that assault weapon bans and magazines limits should be unconstitutional. Modern semi-auto rifles are a popular and common kind of rifle, not unusual. They use an intermediate cartridge, smaller and with less powder than the traditional full sized military battle rifle, but larger and with more powder then pistol cartridges.

    If you read other parts of US v. Miller, it could be argued that the common infantry weapons of the time should be protected:

    “”The significance attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. ‘A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.’ And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.””

    If all physically capable males, and now would include females, are the militia and the militia is responsible for supplying their own arms in the event of being called up shouldn’t they have access to standard individual infantry arms?

  23. Billy Bob shooting beer cans with an assault weapon in his backyard hardly meets the requirement for a citizen enrolled for military discipline.

  24. The issue is this administration’s disregard of several constitutional amendments and the rights of American citizens. Obama holds a law degree from Harvard, but has demonstrated time and time again he doesn’t have a clue about the rights of Americans or the what the job of US President entails (or how many US States or how to pronounce “Navy Corpsman”). The liberals in this Congress along with this inept administration are growing bigger Government on the backs of our children and grandchildren. They need to STOP RECKLESS SPENDING AND RAISING TAXES ON THE MIDDLE AND LOW INCOME EARNERS, WHILE LYING TO THEM THAT WE HAVE NO SPENDING PROBLEM AND THEIR TAXES WILL NOT BE RAISED. These blatant lies are growing old, and so are the personal attacks on conservatives that liberals resort to when they lose the debate on issues.

  25. MrApple

    “Billy Bob shooting beer cans with an assault weapon in his backyard hardly meets the requirement for a citizen enrolled for military discipline.”

    The Billy Bobs of our Founders’ time would have been ready with a musket, hatchet, and knife and a moments notice. The Founding Fathers can hardly be blamed for the nation turning into a bunch of out of shape pansies. Even so the responsibility of the public to stay vigilant against outside as well as inside attacks against the Constitution and the Republic is still valid.

  26. Lacoochee

    Would people stop using the old canard of you can’t shout “fire” in a movie theater. Of course you can, if there is fire it is advisable to do so!!!

    For those who would say that the 2nd amendment only applies to the government. What are you smoking, why would the government need to give itself permission to own weaponry? You are also ignoring the “of the people” part completely and the regulated in the parlance of that day meant well trained as in the British Regulars “Redcoats” marched on Concorde. Read it like this:

    “A well read public being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.”

    And it will make more sense.

    If you don’t like the second amendment and think that your Dear Leader will be the only President in power forever, go about this the right way, get a super majority of Congress to pass an amendment removing the seconds amend from the Bill of Rights and then get 3/4 of the States to ratify it into being an poof gone. Be careful though you may not like what lies at the end of this path.

  27. Brian Opsahl

    What the hell is wrong with you Mr.Apple..? The well regulated militia against our Military would be a joke would it NOT !!
    What they said in our Constitution can’t always be aplied some 237 years ago into todays standards hence the Bill of Rights. I have been told this great lie by Republicans about the Government taking away my guns ever since my first vote when I was 18 ….so for over 34 years ive been told this ….and guess what has actully happened in that time ….I have added many differant types of weapons to my collection …many I thought I would never be able to buy.
    When we have several mass murders,mass shotings for SCHOOL children….something has to change. When over 91 % of Americans support a National register for gun ownership.
    And zero Republicans vote for this ….who’s freekin side are guys on anyway..? the Mass murders side …really

  28. Brian Opsahl

    Ted Cruz is an idiot with a degree…everytime he opens his mouth something mean and nasty comes out. His know it all attitude towards the senior Senator from California was very disrespectful as could be. He is a jerk from Texas just like the last idiot from there that almost destroyed our economy. They say everyting is bigger in Texas …well thats true…including their Disrespectfulness IDIOTS…!!

  29. MrApple

    Brian Opsahl says: “What the hell is wrong with you Mr.Apple..? The well regulated militia against our Military would be a joke would it NOT !!”

    I love the people that seem to think that the American Public would have no chance against the military might of the US Government. Look to history. The Founding Fathers knew they could not fight a protracted and conventional war against the British Army so they varied their approach and used guerrilla tactics. If a second “Civil War” did occur it would initially be a very quick takeover by the stronger Governmental powers followed by years, if not decades, of covert action by American insurgents. This “slow leak” type of conflict has happened repeatedly throughout history and for the most part always ends up with a victorious ‘David’ against an overwhelmingly powerful ‘Goliath’. Look to the colonists against the British Army in the late 1700s, the Viet Cong against the Japanese, French, Americans in the 20th century, Afghanistan against the Soviets and the US in the later part of the 20th century, and Iraq insurgents against the US in Gulf War part 2 as examples of the power of the underdog. I also would not discount how many soldiers would side with the American Public. When they enlisted they did swear an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution and not just the present Administration, no matter who they are at the time. Never forget that this is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

    “When over 91 % of Americans support a National register for gun ownership.”

    Nearly every anti-gun commenter mentions some percentage of Americans who wish to have their 2nd Amendment rights restricted in the name of public safety. I demand sources for your numbers or I call BS on them.

    “And zero Republicans vote for this ….who’s freekin side are guys on anyway..? the Mass murders side …really”
    So you’re saying that Republicans are pro-mass murder well by that logic the Democrats must pro-slow and constant murder, assault, and crime in general. The Democrat controlled major cities and states are plagued with Liberal gun laws and high murder/crime rates that the city of Chicago as a fine example (506 murdered just last year). And in your own words, “who’s freekin side are guys on anyway..?”

  30. Brian Opsahl

    Really…You and your totaly ignorant friends are going to die a quick death if you think you have a chance against our Military and what kind of a nut thinks that way anyway…Sir
    Anti-Americans who wish to over throw our way of life,Government, and your well regulated militia will NOT be welcome and would be met with maximium equal protection from said Law abiding citizen…Sir
    I never said Republicans where pro-mass Murder you did that on your own assuptions…Sir
    To claim that the high Chicago murder rate is because of some Liberial gun law just shows how ignorent you are of the facts of gang violence, and all that plagues it….
    Finally, several members of my family serve the Military one is a LT,Colonel…everyting you said that they might follow another direction absolutly CRAZY speek …again what the hell is wrong with you…you almost sound as if you want that to happen…somehow..?

  31. MrApple

    To Brian Opsahl:

    “Anti-Americans” who wish to throw away their rights and my rights for the illusion of safety will NOT be welcome.

    “I never said Republicans where pro-mass Murder you did that on your own assuptions”
    You stated, “And zero Republicans vote for this ….who’s freekin side are guys on anyway..? the Mass murders side …really” Me assuming that you are throwing the Republicans under the Pro-mass murder bus is as obvious as water being wet. You asked/commented that since they aren’t voting for the anti-gun measures then who’s side are they on. Putting the two together to see Republicans as pro-mass murder isn’t much of a stretch.

    “To claim that the high Chicago murder rate is because of some Liberial gun law just shows how ignorent you are of the facts of gang violence, and all that plagues it….’ The average law abiding member of the public simply doesn’t have access to legal firearms in Chicago while the gangs disregard the laws and carry anyway. Liberal laws of the city and state have created this awful situation.

    And as for me being crazy, screw you! I won’t have some asshat tell me that I’m unAmerican because I want to maintain my rights and refuse to hand over those rights that so many have fought and died to protect. There are damn near a ton of gun laws on the books, how about enforcing those instead of creating more that the legal system will chose to ignore and then plea bargain for a lesser charge. I do think that we can agree that this country has an illegal drug and gang problem in this country and not a gun problem.

  32. Brian Opsahl

    You are the one toughting this anti Goverment stance like you are somehow mistreated in this Country if you can’t have a bozooka or tank in your backyard as the 2nd amendment says.. according to you. the over 2565 guns that are NOT banned are NOT enought for you…?
    Exactly what rights am I trowing away…anyway.. oh yea !! you mean YOUR percieved rights. I asked my Brother (LT.Colonel) about his units loyalty …he said it’s treasonist to even talk about NOT backing the Commander in Chief….SIR ! so again your wrong on all your points.

  33. MrApple

    Anti-Government yes, anti-Constitution no.
    Why does the Liberal Left always take the gun control argument to ridiculous levels? Show me the group demanding their right to RPGs, tanks, fully automatic machine guns, or a-bombs. Even though you can legally own fully automatic weapons if you pass the ATF background check and pay the tax stamp. And when it comes to what firearms I wish to own and whether or not they fall into the list of Fienstein approved weapons, what I own is none of your business or anyone else’s just as you weapons are none of my business. And why should I be limited to the weapons that Fienstein finds the lest threatening, at least for now.
    And as for your brother and his position for the government and his position against the people. He should remember his oath for commissioned officers which stated “…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” As for following blindly what the President says even if it contradicts the Constitution and the laws of this land. “The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809.ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” 891.ART.91 (2), the “lawful order of a warrant officer”, 892.ART.92 (1) the “lawful general order”, 892.ART.92 (2) “lawful order”. In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.”


    I pray that it never comes to that but if it does he’ll have a hard decision to make.

  34. This all reminds me of the movie “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming”. Well armed militia prepared for foreign invaders.

  35. Brian Opsahl

    What I really want to know is who is this Militia he keeps talking about….and how many of them exsist..? I’m sure the FBI or like would want to now also..lol

  36. Brian Opsahl

    Bottom line is …That book doesn’t tell you where the bathroom or messhall is but they use it everyday …same is said for obeying your superior officer and on up the chain.
    Twist what I said anyway you want …talk that crap in your unit and you will get a soap party as he calls it. My other Brother is a former Marine MP guard and current Police officer near by also says the same thing about how the Military deals with Anti’s…!!

  37. Brian Opsahl

    I’m trying to show you the real world of how the Military handels Anti’s thats all.
    Your quoting the UMJC is NOT how the real Military deals with this stuff …thats all i’m saying. If you want the truth about it you ask the right people.

  38. Brian Opsahl


  39. MrApple

    Brian Opsahl says:
    “What I really want to know is who is this Militia he keeps talking about….and how many of them exsist..? I’m sure the FBI or like would want to now also..lol”

    “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
    — George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788


  40. MrApple: George Mason voted against ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

  41. MrApple

    “MrApple: George Mason voted against ratification of the U.S. Constitution.”

    “At Philadelphia in 1787, Mason was one of the five most frequent speakers at the Constitutional Convention. He exerted great influence, but during the last 2 weeks of the convention he decided not to sign the document.

    Mason’s refusal prompts some surprise, especially since his name is so closely linked with constitutionalism. He explained his reasons at length, citing the absence of a declaration of rights as his primary concern.”


    Thank God he did hold out for the Bill of Rights.

  42. MrApple

    To Sam Deans:
    If you want a real battle try the comment section of any anti-gun article on Huffingtion Post. It can be brutal and it is certainly an uphill battle with the sheer numbers of Liberals there. I keep up with the revolving gun articles by checking out thegunwire.com. Check it out if you haven’t before.

    Keep up the good fight!

  43. Brian Opsahl

    Thank’s Pat for giving us the straight skinny, I can’t believe were having an argument like this anyway. As I said before ….If you wish to engage our Military because you hate Mr. Obama (quacks like a duck..Sir) do so at your own perail, and if you wish to recuit more for YOUR cause when approching my home…I suggest you Duck..!! lol

  44. Congress was on an 8 year vacation during the Bush administration and I missed it?

    Those bastards.

  45. The plural of Attorney General is Attorneys General. Thank you.

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