Ted Cruz and the Greatest Supreme Court Story Ever Told

Ted Cruz has a book coming out and it tells the story of when he was a clerk for Justice Rehnquist on the Supreme Court and the justices were considering a case involving online porn restrictions. Since almost none of them knew a thing about he internet, the staff set up a little tutorial:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a 2016 contender, reveals in his new book out Tuesday that he once watched pornography with Supreme Court justices while serving as a law clerk.

Cruz was clerking for then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist and recalls standing behind Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in his book, A Time for Truth.

“We were in front of a large computer screen gazing at explicit, hard-core pornography,” Cruz wrote, according to The Washington Post.

At the time, the court was considering a case regarding the regulation of online pornography. Court librarians reportedly set up a tutorial for the justices and clerks to show how adult content can be easily found online. The librarian punched in “cantaloupe” as an example, misspelled.

“A slew of hard-core, explicit images showed up onscreen,” Cruz wrote, according to the Post.

“As we watched these graphic pictures fill our screens, wide-eyed, no one said a word. Except for Justice O’Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, ‘Oh, my.'”

This reminds me of my favorite Supreme Court story ever, which as I recall was found in the papers of Justice Blackmun. Back in the 60s, the court was considering an obscenity case, probably Miller v California (the case in which Justice Powell famously said that he couldn’t define obscenity “but I know it when I see it”). In order to decide if the film in question was obscene, of course, they had to watch it. So they scheduled porno night at the Supreme Court and all the justices showed up, in their robes I assume.

By that time, old Justice Harlan was legally blind, so he brought along one of his clerks to watch it and describe what was going on. Every so often, he’d lean over and ask the clerk what was going on. The clerk would whisper in his ear what was happening on the screen and Justice Harlan would lean back and remark, “You don’t say!” I love that story.

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  • theDukedog7 .

    […old Justice Harlan was legally blind..]

    The malady seems to gave spread to five of the justices.

  • John Pieret

    Justice O’Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, ‘Oh, my.’”

    Given Justice O’Connor’s personality, I bet I can guess what she was squinting at …

  • zevonsky72

    Speaking of “I know it when I see it,” this week Ted Cruz was interviewed on NBC by Savannah Guthrie, who asked Cruz why he isn’t being a hypocrite when he claims that there is no “religious liberty” to refuse to issue marriage certificates to interracial couples, but there is such a liberty to refuse to issue a marriage license to a gay couple:

    “If a state clerk refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, would you agree with that too?” she asked Cruz on Monday morning, noting that people who once objected to interracial marriage used religion to support their beliefs.

    “There’s no religious backing for that,” Cruz responded.

    Never mind that the court system is not in a position to determine what is or is not a legitimately-held religious belief. Ted Cruz tells us we should all look to him to determine what is valid religious doctrine.

    And this guy is supposed to be brilliant?

  • moarscienceplz

    Ted Cruz has a book coming out? Who transcribed the crayon for him?

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK


    More mental gymnastics to allow them to say that Loving was decided correctly but that Obergefell wasn’t. I expect at least a couple of decades of that until the older bigots die out.

    He’s brilliant in the sense that he says the things that his perceived constituency wants to hear. I’m reasonably certain that he understands that it’s completely BS but if he wants to retain his position, he has to say it. So, “brilliant” but ethically bankrupt.

  • colnago80

    Re ArtK @ #5

    Cruz is a brilliant sociopath who has no ethics to start with.

  • footface

    (That was Potter Stewart’s line.)

  • Akira MacKenzie

    ArtK @ 5

    I expect at least a couple of decades of that until the older bigots die out.

    After which, they will be replaced by slightly younger bigots.

  • Michael Heath

    zevonsky72 writes:

    this guy [Ted Cruz] is supposed to be brilliant?

    That reminds me of the quip regarding Newt Gingrich:

    Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like.

  • Die Anyway

    >’The librarian punched in “cantaloupe” as an example, misspelled.’

    Ok, you know I had to try it. I really didn’t get any porn, just a few links to some very mild nudity. Apparently there is a band named Cuntaloupe because references to that come up often. Also a couple of agricultural sites who (mis)spell the melon name that way. I used Google. Maybe a different search engine would have gotten me the “oh my” stuff. Not that it’s difficult to find the hardest of the hard core stuff, just that mis-typing cantaloupe is not as productive as just typing “sex video”.

  • Donnie

    Supposedly, years ago, my sister called me in a panic because she was doing some research and type ‘HUMMINGBIRD’ in the URL, directly. She needed help clearing her browser history in case the kids came online behind her. She took my advice after that of always entering her searches in a search engine.

  • Donnie

    Supposedly in the sense that she did call me but I never confirmed what she saw after typing in the word.

  • ‘smee

    This is a PSA: Dukedog aka Egnorator aka fuckwit extraordinaire is a vile racist fuck.

    Thank you for your attention, and now back to our regular programming.

  • briandavis

    This reminds me of when I worked with a Mormon guy back in the mid 90’s. His local bishop had asked him about this “internet thing”, and whether it was nothing but a cesspool of evil. He told the bishop that the internet was actually quite useful. He told the bishop about search engines, and suggested he search for info about some Mormon organization. The organization the bishop searched for was “Young Women“. I’m sure the bishop was impressed with the results.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    moarscienceplz “Ted Cruz has a book coming out? Who transcribed the crayon for him?”

    “It’s no Shakespeare.”, infinite monkeys with typewriters said, upon completing the task.

  • abb3w

    From the timing of his clerkship, the case was probably the 1996 Reno v ACLU; seven justices ruled parts of the law hopelessly overbroad, with two more (O’Connor and Rehnquist) concurring in more limited fashion.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    And it changed Ted Cruz’s life forever.

  • ZugTheMegasaurus

    When I was in law school, I did my required paper (basically everyone had to write a law review article but didn’t have to submit it anywhere) on satire (arguing that it should fall under fair use with parody). My favorite case was Walt Disney Productions v. Mature Pictures, in which Disney sued a porn company for a group sex scene that included Mickey Mouse hats and played the “Mickey Mouse March” in the background. The opinion is hysterical to read through just for the court’s attempt at describing this hardcore gangbang porno in the most sterile possible way. They refer to the female actor as “the film’s protagonist.”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    abb3w “hopelessly overbroad”


  • anthrosciguy

    Die Anyway, of course you didn’t find any. You have to use the Supreme Court’s misspelling. Try canteloup and xhamster.

  • anthrosciguy

    BTW Zug, that was a good movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    OK, ‘smee. You are beginning to bore me. You would be much better off if you just ignored the dukePuppy.

  • Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y

    OK, ‘smee. You are beginning to bore me. You would be much better off if you just ignored the dukePuppy.

    The problem with “just ignoring” the trolls is that then the fence-sitters think we consider what they’re saying unremarkable.

  • freehand

    […old Justice Harlan was legally blind..]


    The malady seems to [h]ave spread to five of the justices.


    OK, D-Dawg, that was clever. Now, if only you could justify why you think equal protection under the law shouldn’t apply to gays but freedom of the press should apply to the internet.


    Hmmm. Can we say that Ted Cruz contributed just a little bit here to historical knowledge? But we know that most of his book will be lies, misrepresentations, untruths, and bizarre fantasies, and there may be no reliable way of teasing out which is which.

  • thebookofdave

    @sigurd jorsalfar #17

    You must be referring to this quote, where Cruz describes the model of behavior that pretty much set up his entire senate career.

    I burned a fair number of bridges on the Bush campaign

    @abb3w #16

    That case was settled nineteen years ago. Someone should phone Cruz, thank him for a job well done, and suggest that he ease off on the research.

  • http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/ Zeno


    Yes, you’re right! It was Potter Stewart who “knew it when he saw it.” And years later it was reported that sometimes in the screening room it would be Thurgood Marshall who would yell out, “Oh, yes, that’s it, all right!”