Republican Sen. Ted Cruz signaled willingness to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court Friday afternoon at a conference of conservative and libertarian lawyers in Washington, D.C.
“What I will say is that history is long and can take unexpected paths,” he said in response to an audience question about his filling the vacancy. “I think it is absolutely vital that that seat and every other seat that comes vacant on the court be filled by principled constitutionalists who will be faithful to the law and will check their own policy preferences at the door and simply honor their oath.”
“I can also tell you that I have right now the privilege of serving in the United States Senate, of representing 27 million Texans,” he said. “That is a privilege and a responsibility I take very, very seriously. And I look forward to continuing to carry out that responsibility and continuing to fight for the principles of freedom and the principles embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” he added.
Though Cruz is not among the 21 jurists named to President-elect Donald Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees, rumors abound on Capitol Hill that his name is in serious contention. The transition has not confirmed that the senator is being vetted for the seat. (RELATED: Justice Alito Remembers Scalia: ‘He Was Uncompromising’)
He urged attendees at the conference to work with the incoming Trump administration by staffing the ranks of the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other federal agencies. “We need all hands on deck,” he said, calling the prospect of united Republican government a historic opportunity to return to the Constitution.“Don’t bicker agency to agency, office to office, official to official,” he added. “Instead, if we are to succeed in turning the leviathan, we can’t succumb to those impulses.”
Cruz also congratulated his “colleague and good friend,” Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions on his nomination to be U.S. Attorney General. “He is a committed and deeply principled conservative, and if those who serve in this administration have even a fraction of his integrity and his commitment to principle, we are going see and administration that does remarkable things for the people of this country,” he said. Cruz met with members of the transition at Trump Tower in New York earlier this week, fueling speculation he could be appointed to be the AG.
After his remarks, the senator told reporters that he is determined to see, “A strong conservative constitutionalist confirmed to the Supreme Court, and that across the board we continue to deliver on the promises we made to the voters throughout this election.”
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