Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Saturday that Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush picked Supreme Court Justices David Souter and John Roberts because they weren't strong conservatives.
And, in his remarks to the conservative Eagle Council convention in St. Louis, the Texas senator distanced himself from previous support of Roberts, who is now chief justice.
"Now in both instances, it wasn’t that they were looking for someone who wasn’t a conservative, it’s that it was easier," Cruz said, according to BuzzFeed News.
"Neither Souter nor Roberts had said much of anything.
"They didn’t have a paper trail, they wouldn’t have a fight," he said. "Whereas, if you actually nominate a conservative, then you gotta spend some political capital. Then you gotta fight."
Cruz's said that if Souter and Roberts had not been on the court, state marriage laws would not have been circumvented by the Supreme Court's 5-4 gay marriage ruling in June.
Roberts dissented, however. Souter retired in 2009.
The senator's comments also marked a sharp reversal for his support of Roberts in 2005, BuzzFeed reports.
The report cites Cruz's support for Roberts' nomination in a 2005 op-ed piece for the National Review and an internal memo he wrote as Texas Solicitor General praising Roberts' skill as a litigator.
"I’ve worked with John and seen him argue numerous cases, and, to my mind, there’s not another appellate advocate who’s even close," Cruz wrote.
The two-day Eagle Council event, at which six GOP contenders spoke, was sponsored by longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.
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