The last few months saw a great deal of attention on the United States Supreme Court. The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the subsequent hearings that led to the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett actually distracted the nation from the presidential election cycle for a few weeks and turned the focus on the Supreme Court. This was of course related to the presidential election in that both sides recognized the significance of this selection and would have loved for a candidate of their party’s persuasion to be making the choice.
Ted Cruz had obviously been working on his new book, One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History, for some time before this period, but he could hardly have chosen a better time to release it. Ted’s experience with the court, both as a clerk and as someone who has argued in front of the court many times, makes him a good candidate to write a book like this. Obviously, Ted Cruz is a conservative Republican and your response to his perspective on the cases he discusses will vary greatly depending on whether your viewpoints align with his. As an evangelical Christian with Libertarian leanings, I find myself in his camp more often than not. I would encourage anyone interested in the Supreme Court to consider reading this book, as it is helpful to understand both your own perspective better and those who you might not agree with. The following is a quick summary of some of the issues addressed:
- Religious Liberty – Is it okay for a public government building to have a monument of the ten commandments or for court rooms to have them posted in the building?
- School choice – Does a parent have the right to choose a school for their child and does a state have the right to help subsidize those choices, even if it means they choose a school of a religious persuasion?
- Gun rights – Do states have the right to govern their own gun ownership laws and are their limitations on a state’s ability to restrict gun ownership?
- US Sovereignty – Do other countries and the UN have the right to enforce their laws on US residents, legal or otherwise, even when it goes against US law?
- Abortion – Do states have the ability to restrict abortion laws freely without federal interference?
- Free Speech – Do individuals and organizations have the right to criticize elected officials? Do you have the right to disagree with candidates for office publicly?
- Capital Punishment – Do states have the right to set their own crime and punishment laws and execute criminals as they so determine?
- Democracy and the Electoral Process – How do the state and federal courts interact and help interpret the laws in national elections?
Personally, I was already familiar with 3 of the cases that are mentioned in the chapters the author covers, but found the details of those cases and the others fascinating. Mr. Cruz does an excellent job breaking down the complex issues in order to help the reader understand the cases and perspectives of the opposing sides. If you would like to know more about the importance of every Justice and every vote on the Supreme Court, I recommend you give One Vote Away a try.
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