Cruz doesn’t really care about this happening, before or after the election. This isn’t about the sanctity of the courts. It’s about Ted Cruz wanting to be president and taking whatever hard line he thinks will get the Republican base behind him. How do we know? Here’s Ted Cruz in 2016, when he wasn’t just justifying the Republican blockade against President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, but about blocking a potential President Hillary Clinton’s nominees: “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”
It wasn’t a problem to change the size of the court four years ago, not if it meant fulfilling the number one goal of the extremist Republicans, a goal that’s now within their reach—a wack-job Supreme Court majority. We’ve seen the lengths they’ll go to to gain that, and presuming a miracle doesn’t happen and Barrett advances, to preserve that. This effort from Cruz is part and parcel of that.
But it’s mostly Cruz claiming his spot as Trump’s inheritor for 2024, knowing that the courts will remain the key objective of those setting the Republican agenda: corporate interests and far-right evangelicals. That’s where the money and the base voters, respectively, all come from. Which is one more reason for Democrats to blow it all up in 2021—get rid of the filibuster and expand the courts and cut Cruz off at the knees, figuratively.