Ted Cruz and the Greatest Supreme Court Story Ever Told

Ted Cruz and the Greatest Supreme Court Story Ever Told July 1, 2015

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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