Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and the Stakes on the Republican Side

David Blankenhorn, New York Times, 4/19/2016

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More by: David Blankenhorn

Letters to the Editor

April 18, 2016

To the Editor:

Re "Cruz's Policies Would Herald Shift to Right" (front page, April 18):

You say Ted Cruz "has called for a federal amendment that would allow states to avoid performing or recognizing same-sex marriages." True, but even more radical is his belief that since he considers the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationally to be unconstitutional, elected officials may lawfully refuse, right now, to permit same-sex marriages.

This legal idea, historically known as nullification, was invoked by Southern states before the Civil War to defend slavery against unwelcome Supreme Court decisions, and again by Southern states in the 1950s and 1960s to defend racial segregation.

That this idea often leads to violence should hardly surprise us, since its essence is that individual political leaders may lawfully decide, on their own, which Supreme Court decisions to accept and which to reject.

That Mr. Cruz has resurrected this old, dangerous idea in 2016 speaks volumes about what he means when he describes himself as a "constitutionalist."



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