Former Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz might just have had the best day of his life. Cruz couldn’t contain his enthusiasm and admiration when he was “questioning” conservative Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch during Tuesday’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If you caught some of the back and forth, it kind of felt like first-year-law school student Cruz had invited us into his late night study session with Gorsuch (a 3L) to talk about their favorite subjects: originalism, how great Antonin Scalia is, and how much they love Supreme Court Justice Byron White. Cruz was literally ogling as Gorsuch described his time clerking for White, his childhood hero, and his philosophies as they relate to originalism.
“I wouldn’t become a judge but for his example,” Gorsuch said. Cruz smiled in admiration. Gorsuch then described how White would ask his law clerks their opinions about cases that they were working on.
“He would plunk himself in my office, and say, (grunt), he would always start with a grunt so what does the great Justice Gorsuch think about this one?” Gorsuch said. Cruz and Gorsuch had a good chuckle, along with some other audience members, over that one.
Things got pretty controversial when Cruz questioned Gorsuch about whether he was lucky enough to get Byron White up on the basketball court. Above the Supreme Court, there is a basketball court. For years, White, who played three seasons with the NFL, would come up to play games with the clerks, but White cut back when he became a bit older.
“He would come up for a game of horse with the clerks and former clerks at reunions,” Gorsuch said.
“How’s his jump shot?” Cruz asked.
“His best shot at that age, we are talking in his 70’s was from the free throw line back up over his head, and he could hit it pretty regularly,” Gorsuch said.
You wonder if Cruz was a bit jealous of Gorsuch’s near certain confirmation. After all, Cruz, who attended Harvard Law School, and was Solicitor General of Texas, was even floated as a potential Trump pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.