Ted Cruz is the junior U.S. Senator from Texas. Elected in 2012 as a Republican, he’s been branded a rebel since he often takes positions that aggravate older, more senior lawmakers, (even within his own party). His self-professed goal is to fan the flames of conservatism lit by Ronald Reagan.
Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, on December 22, 1970, where his parents, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson Darragh and Rafael Bienvenido Cruz were living while working in the energy exploration field. His parents had just launched a seismic-data processing business supporting oil drillers.
Cruz’s father was born in 1939 in Matanzas, Cuba and “suffered beatings and imprisonment for protesting the oppressive regime” of then Dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The elder Cruz says that when he was fourteen, he fought alongside Fidel Castro’s forces to overthrow Batista, Cuba’s U.S.-backed dictator. He was later to become a staunch critic of Castro when the rebel leader took control and began seizing private property and suppressing dissent, it was then that he learned that Castro was a Communist.
By 1957, spurred by his aversion to the Castro regime, the 18-year-old Cruz decided to get out of Cuba by applying to the University of Texas. Upon being admitted, he got a four-year student visa at the U.S. Consulate in Havana and moved to Austin, Texas to study at the University of Texas.
“I came to this country legally,” Cruz’s father says. “I came here with a legal visa, and … every step of the way, I have been here legally.”
He arrived in Austin knowing no English and with only $100 sewn into his underwear. He worked his way through college as a dishwasher, making 50 cents an hour, subsequently earning a degree in mathematics.
His younger sister fought in the counter-revolution and was tortured by the new regime. He remained regretful for his early support of Castro, and emphatically conveyed his feelings to young Ted over the following years.
Today, Cruz’s father is now a pastor in Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He became a U.S. citizen in 2005.
Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Darragh, the second-youngest of 17 children, was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, in a family of Irish and Italian descent. She was the first person in her family to attend college. She earned a degree in mathematics from Rice University in Houston in the 1950s, while working summers at Foley’s Department Store and Shell Oil. She later worked in Houston as a computer programmer at Shell.
She was four years older than Rafael Cruz when they met. He had two daughters from a previous marriage who spent summers with the couple.
The couple moved to Canada, and co-founded a seismic-data processing business, supporting the oil exploration that was enjoying a boom there. Ted was born three days before Christmas in 1970 in Calgary, where his parents’ were living at the time.
Three years later, while living in Alberta, a slump hit the price of oil and Raphael and Darragh sold their business. They separated shortly thereafter and Raphael moved back to Houston. Six months later, in 1974, Darragh also returned to Houston, though they remained estranged.
Cruz was away at Princeton University when his parents’ second business foundered and they later divorced. “The oil industry had really taken a dive and they had gone bankrupt – they lost everything when oil tanked,” Cruz said.
As Ted was growing up, “he was very curious and very determined,” his mother recalled. It wasn’t until Ted was well along in grade school, though, that Darragh grasped he might be intellectually gifted.
She chauffeured him to a series of private and church-related schools. Some were far from home. They included Montessori and Southern Baptist institutions, as well as a school that he recalled had many Jewish students and another, the Awty International School that his mother said enrolled children of French diplomats.
“I wasn’t that aware that he was precocious,” Darragh said. “He was my only child.”
Cruz attended high school at Faith West Academy in Katy, Texas, (a small city of 15,000, about 30 miles west of Houston) and later graduated from Second Baptist High School in Houston as valedictorian in 1988.
After high school, he enrolled in Princeton University.
While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society’s Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship. In 1992, he was also named U.S. National Speaker of the Year and Team of the Year (with his debate partner, David Panton). Cruz was also a semi-finalist at the 1995 World Universities Debating Championship.
Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton in 1992.
“He’s a person of strong opinions,” said Robert P. George, a jurisprudence professor who was Cruz’s mentor at Princeton. “But he’s a person who earns his right to his opinions by understanding the best arguments on the other side.”
Cruz’s senior thesis was on the separation of powers, titled “Clipping the Wings of Angels” and drew its inspiration from a passage attributed to President James Madison: “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
Cruz argued that the drafters of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of their constituents, and the last two items in the Bill of Rights offered an explicit stop against an all-powerful state. Cruz wrote: “They simply do so from different directions. The Tenth stops new powers, and the Ninth fortifies all other rights, or non-powers.”
After graduating from Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995. While at Harvard Law, Cruz was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
Referring to Cruz’s time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, “Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant.” Cruz was a “terrific student,” “He was always very active in class, presenting a libertarian point of view. He didn’t strike me as a social conservative, more of a libertarian.”
“He had brilliant insights and he was clearly among the top students, as revealed by his class responses,” “Without a doubt he is among the smartest students I’ve ever had… I’ve had great students but he has to be at the top of anyone’s short list, in terms of raw brain power.” Dershowitz added.
It’s going to be rather difficult for the left to paint Ted Cruz as “dumb” or a “knuckle-dragger,” when a noted liberal like famed Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz has such high praise for Cruz’s brainpower.
Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995 and William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States in 1996. Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.
After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, now known as Cooper & Kirk, LLC, for a couple of years from 1997 to 1998.
In 1998, Cruz served as private counsel for Congressman John Boehner during Boehner’s lawsuit against Congressman Jim McDermott for releasing a tape recording of a Boehner telephone conversation.
Cruz joined the Bush-Cheney campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising President George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.
Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devise strategy, and draft pleadings in the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, winning twice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
After President Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Cruz serves Texas
On January 9, 2003, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appointed Cruz to the office of Solicitor General of Texas. At 33 years old, he was the youngest solicitor general in American history. Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.
The following year, Cruz accepted a teaching invitation by the University of Texas School of Law and served as an Adjunct Professor of Law until 2009.
Cruz has authored more than 80 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.
Cruz’s record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress. Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: “We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights.”
In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In addition to his victory in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the constitutionality of Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds before the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5-4 in Van Orden v. Perry.
Cruz authored a U.S. Supreme Court brief for all 50 states successfully defending the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, winning 9-0 in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.
Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5-4 in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.
Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt by the International Court of Justice to re-open the criminal convictions of 51 murderers on death row throughout the United States.
During his time as Solicitor General of Texas, Cruz was widely viewed as one of the top constitutional litigators in the country, and in 2010, was named as one of the “25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century” by the respected weekly newspaper Texas Lawyer. Several other publications, namely, Chambers USA, Legal 500, and Law 360, referred to him as one of the top appellate litigators in the country.
After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, he worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in as a U.S. Senator in 2013. At Morgan, Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.
Disclosures show Cruz has earned $1.5 million to $1.7 million annually representing about 30 major corporations as a partner at Morgan Lewis, specializing in so-called “high stakes” corporate appeals.
Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator
Cruz’s election to the U.S. Senate has been described by the Washington Post as “the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds.” On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek reelection, Cruz announced his candidacy.
In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee; Erick Erickson, editor of prominent conservative blog RedState; the FreedomWorks for America super PAC; nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin; former Attorney General Edwin Meese; Tea Party Express; Young Conservatives of Texas; and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey.
He was also endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, George P. Bush and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.
Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst. In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler’s 3.2 million (40.6%) to become Texas’ junior senator; John Cornyn is currently the state’s senior Senator. Two minor candidates got the remaining 3% of the vote. Cruz got 40% of the Hispanic vote.
Cruz is a gun-rights supporter. On March 25, 2013, an announcement was made by Cruz and U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee threatening that they would filibuster any legislation that would entail gun control, such as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would require additional background checks on sales at gun shows.
On April 17, 2013, Cruz voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment by a vote of 54–46, as 60 votes were needed for cloture.
Cruz also supports a federal definition of marriage and opposes same-sex marriage.
He favors building a border wall, boots on the ground and greater militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. He is also opposed to the Dream Act.
Regarding foreign policy, Cruz has stated that America had no “dog in the fight” during the Syrian civil war.
He believes that much of federal government – including the U.S. Dept. of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts and the IRS – should be abolished to pay down national debt.
He is against UN Agenda 21, a scheme Cruz says was originated by George Soros. In case you’re unfamiliar with Agenda 21, know this: Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and Harry Reid are for it – need I say more? Here is a link to more about Agenda 21.
He has stated that he believes that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in this country.
In an interview with the Texas Tribune Cruz labeled Social Security a “ponzi scheme” and outlined a three-step plan to gut the program. Cruz would raise the Social Security retirement age, cut future benefits, and implement a George W. Bush-style plan to privatize much of the program.
Selected Senate Votes
- S. 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, Cruz voted “Nay” with 31 others. Cloture invoked.
- S. Amdt 1197, Required the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border, Cruz voted “Yea” with 38 others. Amendment rejected.
- S. Amdt 711, Establishes Regulations for Assault Weapons, Cruz voted “Nay” with 59 others. Amendment rejected.
- S. Amdt 714, Limits Firearm Magazine Capacity, Cruz voted “Nay” with 54 others, Amendment rejected.
- S. Amdt 715, Required Background Checks for All Firearm Purchases, Cruz voted “Nay” with 45 others. Amendment rejected.
- S. Amdt 719, Authorizes Reciprocity for the Carrying of Certain Concealed Firearms, Cruz voted “Yea” with 42 others. Amendment rejected.
- S. Amdt 139, Prohibits the United States From Entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, Cruz voted “Yea” with 52 others. Amendment adopted.
- S. Con Res 8, Budget Continuing Resolution, Cruz voted “Nay” with 48 others. Joint resolution passed.
- S. Amdt 66, Temporarily Freezes the Hiring of Nonessential Federal Employees, Cruz voted “Yea” with 53 others. Amendment rejected.
- S. Amdt 30, To Prohibit the Use of Funds to Carry Out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Cruz is a sponsor of this legislation.
|To see all of Senator Cruz’s votes, click on Project Vote Smart.|
A Few Cruz Quotes
Cruz said: “We need to return to the framers’ vision of a constitutionally limited federal government,” he said. “Unchecked government power always threatens liberty.”
He is also fond of a quote from the curriculum he studied at the Storey Free Enterprise Education Center: “Government is never a source of goods. Everything that government gives you; it must first take from you.”
To sum up Cruz’s philosophy in one sentence, he says, “I will go to my grave with Ronald Wilson Reagan defining what it means to be president.”
Is Cruz qualified to be President?
This question is already at the forefront of any discussion of Cruz and his possible presidential aspirations. The immediate knee-jerk reaction of those who are in the “anti-Cruz” camp is that he was born in Canada and based on that alone, is ineligible. But that’s simply an uninformed statement and the ineligible part isn’t true.
The Constitution defines three requirements to be President: one must be 35 years of age, a resident within the United States for 14 years, and a “natural born Citizen.” Cruz fulfills the first two requirements easily.
The only questionable area is the term “natural born Citizen.”
The qualifications to be President of the United States are set out in the Constitution, at Article II, Section 1, clause 5:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been Fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
The majority of legal and historical opinion has been that Cruz would be eligible given that he was a U.S. citizen at birth as his mother was a U.S. citizen who lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years. On August 19, 2013,
The most authoritative and unbiased source short of the U.S. Supreme Court, would be the Congressional Research Service.
In case you aren’t familiar with the CRS, they are a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress and work exclusively for the United States Congress. They provide policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. The CRS is well-known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan.
CRS reviewed the natural-born issue in a November 14, 2011 report based on questions relating to president Obama’s qualifications. Coincidentally, the 53-page report also covers Cruz’s situation. It concludes that someone born abroad to an American parent could legally qualify to be president. You can read the full report (.pdf) here.
Here is an excerpt from the CRS report that highlights a major difference between the circumstances of Senator Cruz’s birth and that of president Obama, as it relates to the natural-born qualification:
The importance to some in arguing that President Obama was born outside of the United States is that, given that the President’s father was not a U.S. citizen at the time of the President’s birth, the federal laws then, in 1961, would have required for citizenship “at birth” of one born outside of the United States to only one citizen-parent, that such citizen-parent have resided in the United States for not less than ten years, at least five of which were after the age of fourteen (8 U.S.C. §1401(a)(7)) (1958 ed.), a requirement that the President’s mother, because of her age, would not have met.
The statement that covers Cruz’s specific situation concludes:
“The weight of more recent federal cases, as well as the majority of scholarship on the subject, also indicates that the term ‘natural born citizen’ would most likely include, as well as native born citizens, those born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents, at least one of whom had previously resided in the United States, or those born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent who, prior to the birth, had met the requirements of federal law for physical presence in the country.”
The CRS’ findings are nonpartisan and represent a legal opinion, but they’re also nonbinding.
It does appear, however, that Cruz is a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States. Canada considers anyone born in Canada since 1947 a Canadian citizen and he is a citizen of the U.S. based on his mother being a U.S. citizen.
He has said that if it is true that he also is a Canadian citizen, he will renounce his Canadian citizenship.
In order to renounce his Canadian citizenship, a simple statement is not enough. He’ll have to complete an “Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship” and pay a $100 fee. The application (barring any issues), typically takes about four months to process, after which he will be sent a “Certificate of Renunciation.”
Cruz released his Canadian birth certificate to The Dallas Morning News on Aug. 18, 2013.
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Cruz and his wife, Heidi Suzanne Cruz (née Nelson), have two daughters, Caroline Camille and Catherine Christiane, ages five and two. A live-in nanny cares for them, said Ted’s mother, Darragh. She lives in the same condo complex in Houston, and helps out.
Cruz’s wife is a heavy-hitter in her own right.
She is the Region Head for the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. She leads 40 professionals responsible for over $14 billion in investments for clients throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Colorado.
In the 1990s, Heidi worked as an investment banker in New York, focusing on Latin America mergers and acquisitions and structured finance. In that capacity, Heidi was involved in advisory engagements and capital markets transactions for some of the largest energy companies in the Americas.
In the public sector, Heidi served in the White House as the Economic Director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council, under then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice; as the Director of the Latin America Office at the U.S. Treasury Department; and as Special Policy Assistant to Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick, then-U.S. Trade Representative.
Her publications include a book chapter entitled “Expanding Opportunity Through Free Trade,” a book chapter in EXCHANGE RATE POLICIES FOR EMERGING MARKET ECONOMIES, and a Harvard Case Study, “American International Group”.
Heidi received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, a Masters of European Business from Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Claremont McKenna College.
She is currently a member of the Texas Business Leadership Council and serves on the board of the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts European Art Sub-Committee, the Advancement Board of the Yes Prep Public Schools of Houston, the Advisory Board of Living Water International, and on the Advisory Board of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College in California.
NOTE: I’ve endeavored to verify all information contained herein, however if you find some element that you believe to be false or misleading, please respond with evidence showing what is claimed to be false or misleading and if the evidence is convincing, I will update or remove the incorrect data.