Trump’s Smart Pick for the Court

Photo by Dave Milbrandt

While prognostication is never a wise thing when talking about presidential politics (just consider how few of us correctly predicted the outcome last November), it will be curious to see if President Trump makes a smart move when announcing his Supreme Court pick this next week.

Trump’s short list has been circulated, but there is one name on that list who would be an ideal choice for the president: Texas Senator and former rival Ted Cruz.

Now, many of us remember the tension between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump was palpable during the campaign, with insults flying about left and right. For crying out loud, Trump even insulted Cruz’s wife, Heidi.

So, why would Trump pick Cruz to serve on the highest court in the land? While doing research for this post, I discovered I wasn’t the first person to consider Cruz as a “wild card” choice for the post. I would like to build on the brilliance of others at this point.

There are several reasons why picking Cruz is a good move. First, it shows he is willing to end the feuding between the two. Second, since he is going to pick a social conservative who’s a strict constructionist, why not choose someone the Senate already knows? His colleagues may not like him, but wouldn’t moving him to the Court get him out of their hair?

While he has not served as a judge previously, Cruz is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, and served as Solicitor General of Texas and a private practice lawyer before being elected to the Senate representing the Lone Star State.

There is a secondary reason for supporting him that has not been explored in depth as of yet. If Cruz is nominated to the Court, he can’t very well turn down the chance to spend the next 30–40 years shaping how the Constitution is interpreted. And, of course, serving on the Supreme Court prevents him from running for President, shrinking the list of potential opponents right out of the gate.

Trump would be burying the proverbial hatchet—right in Cruz’s back. Talk about the “Art of the Deal.”

Trump has had a rocky first week to say the least, and nominating Ted Cruz to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court would be the smart play for many reasons.

Then again, he chose ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson over former Gov. Mitt Romney for Secretary of State and charter school advocate Betsy Devos over former D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to run the Department of Education (both of whom likely would have faced less contentious confirmation hearings), so Trump clearly uses a different metric when making these decisions.

Trump’s advisers may want to encourage him to take a look back at the coverage of thwarted Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and strategize how they can prevent Democrats from using the filibuster for a little payback.

In the world of politics, the president would do well to remember that elephants aren’t the only ones with long memories.

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