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POETRY SLAM: Ted Cruz attacks Biden court pick for writing bad poem 30 years ago

Nature

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday accused one of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees of being a Marxist and read aloud bad poems he wrote 30 years ago to prove that he is “far from the mainstream”.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cruz told Oregon District Court nominee Mustafa Kasubhai that he was “puzzled” by Kasubhai’s denial to another Republican committee member, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), that he was a Marxist.

“You said, and I wrote it: ‘I did not praise Marxist ideas,’” Cruz said, visibly preparing to assert the opposite. “As you know, in law, there are facts, evidence. »

And then, straight out of an English literature student’s nightmare, he began reading aloud a poem that Kasubhai wrote decades ago, when he was a law school student, called “Theory of sensualized property.

“Intimate knowledge, lovers embraced, familiar and ever exciting, passionate transcendence beyond physical exaltation lies a burning light and our limbs are hearts. Floating, flying, falling in all directions, amorphous and wondrous, stretching time, bending space, deliciously explosive eros, and yet, I tremble shyly every time,” Cruz read to the room.

He paused briefly to note: “Now, one way or another, this is about ownership, the reason for which is not immediately obvious. »

Then the Texas Republican continued reading as Kasubhai sat there, almost certainly mortified to hear his old poetry criticized during a Senate confirmation hearing.

“Property is not simply a relationship between an owner and an object of ownership,” Cruz continued, reading aloud Kasubhai’s comparisons to philosophers John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx. “The process of integrating all three can provide a framework for relationships that value each unique personality. The yearning for intimate knowledge – intimate knowledge of oneself and others – is a creative struggle to redefine ownership.

“What the hell does that mean?” Cruz demanded to know.

Kasubhai, who has been a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon since 2018 and a national judge from 2007 to 2018, was clearly embarrassed.

“Senator,” he said, “as I prepared and reviewed my materials for this hearing and for the process, I must also admit that these writings were far from clear or articulate. »

“The poetry was definitely not good,” Kasubhai said.

Who among us didn’t write terrible poetry 30 years ago, Ted Cruz.

Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

But Cruz pressed Kasubhai to explain the meaning of his poem.

“Do you think we need to have a creative struggle to redefine ownership? He asked.

“This is something I wrote 30 years ago, Senator, and during my law school studies and the ideas that came from that…” Kasubhai began.

“OK, so your flirtations with Marxism go back 30 years,” Cruz interrupted.

The Texas senator then began reading aloud a speech Kasubhai gave in 2020 about fairness and privilege.

“Privilege draws its power from the belief in scarcity,” Cruz read. “Shortage of money, natural resources, food and energy itself. The desire to control everything gives rise to privilege. I want to suggest to you that fairness, the idea of ​​fairness, rejects this model of scarcity.

“This is Marxism in 2020,” the Texas senator said. “What did that mean?”

Kasubhai said Cruz’s conclusion made no sense.

“I never considered that Marxist, senator,” he said. “It’s the idea of ​​equal access, and in the context of the work I do here…”

“So there is no scarcity, there are no property rights, equity gives everyone a right to everyone’s property,” Cruz added. “Is it correct?”

“Not at all,” replied Kasubhai. “In the context of the work that I do on the bench, Senator, when you look at my record over these 16 years, you will find that I have followed the Constitution and precedent.”

Jake Faleschini of the Alliance for Justice, a progressive justice advocacy group, condemned Republicans’ ridiculous treatment of Kasubhai.

“Those who have been appointed to serve on our federal courts deserve far better than the blatant disrespect that was displayed today at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing,” Faleschini said in a statement. “Judge Kasubhai is a consummate professional who has skillfully defied attacks, defended his courtroom practices, and demonstrated exactly why he would make a fantastic judge. All Republican senators did today was display their own contempt for diversity and any effort to ensure equal access to justice for all.

As the hearing ended, cCommittee Chairman Dick Durbin (D) noted that Republicans did not spend much time questioning Kasubhai about the hundreds of opinions he issued as a justice, as part of their effort to attempt to present him as a Marxist – and attack his poem.

“Your poetry was returned to you today,” Durbin told Kasubhai. ” Do not be discouraged. Poetry is still very important.

Nature
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