Republicans need a nominee who will fight for proven conservatives on the Supreme Court, Sen. Ted Cruz said February 26 at Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention.
The GOP presidential candidate said "the entire direction of the country hangs in the balance" because the future of the Supreme Court is up in the air following the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and famed surgeon Dr. Ben Carson were the two candidates who accepted invitations to back-to-back, hour-long sessions in the Presidential Candidates Forum at the NRB meeting. In addition to the audience at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, others were able to watch or listen to the forums on NRBTV and the Salem Media Group, co-sponsors of the sessions.
"The vacuum that is left by Justice Scalia's passing cannot be overstated, and it really underscores the stakes of this next election," Cruz said.
Americans are a liberal justice away "from losing our fundamental rights," he said. Cruz cited a series of 5-4 decision victories for conservatives on issues such as the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, and the religious freedom of family owned, for-profit corporations challenging the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate.
"We are one liberal justice away from the Supreme Court striking down every state and federal restriction on abortions and mandating unlimited abortion on demand" up to delivery, Cruz told the Convention audience
Democrats, he said, "get Supreme Court nominees right almost 100 percent of the time. Almost every nominee they put on the court votes exactly the way they want."
Republicans, meanwhile, have been "unbelievably bad" at Supreme Court nominations, Cruz said. They too often nominate stealth candidates who turn out to be disappointments, he said.
"If you've lived 50 years of your life and you've never said or written or done anything to prove you're a conservative, you ain't," he said.
The justices who "are faithful to the Constitution" spent years, even decades "standing and fighting for conservative principles, standing and fighting for the Constitution, and they endured criticism -- harsh, harsh criticism -- and they didn't waver," Cruz said.
Democrats "understand the stakes," and they "fight tooth and nail" to keep proven conservatives off the court, he said. "They are using the court to try to fundamentally change this country."
Cruz promised the Convention audience he would invest "every ounce of political capital" to nominate and confirm "principled constitutionalists who will vigorously protect the Bill of Rights for my children and yours."
"[N]obody in the history of our country has ever grown a backbone after arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Cruz said. "It doesn't work that way."
Cruz is second in the Republican delegate count and second or third in polling as Super Tuesdaynears. The biggest day of the primary election season occurs March 1, when the GOP holds primaries in nine states - seven in the South - and caucuses in five.
If frontrunner Donald Trump sweeps the states on Super Tuesday, "he could easily be unstoppable, and I think that would be a grave mistake both for the Republican Party and for the country," Cruz said. "I don't think he's the right candidate to go up against Hillary Clinton, and nobody has any idea what he would do as president, including Donald. And I don't think we can roll the dice with the future of our kids and grandkids."
He has spent the last 20 years fighting for religious liberty, Cruz told forum moderator Eric Metaxas, a well-known radio talk show host and author.
Religious freedom "applies to everyone," said Cruz, an evangelical Christian. The media seeks "to caricature any Christian running for office. Listen, I'm not running to be Pastor-in-Chief. My object is not as a public office to preach the message of salvation. That's the role of the Church. That's our role as individual Christians.
"I'm running to be Commander-in-Chief and to defend the Constitution. But I'll tell you this: I'm also not going to hide my faith," said Cruz, who described to the audience the conversions to Christ experienced by his parents and him.
Cruz also answered questions from Star Parker, President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), and Roy Beck, President of NumbersUSA, which addresses the country's level of immigration. CURE and NumbersUSA co-sponsored the forums.
He told Parker, "[T]he best cure for poverty is a secure two-parent home with a mother and father caring for those children."
While the government "can't cure many of these" social ills, Cruz said, "government policies can be changed so that they're not attacking marriage, so that they're not undermining marriage."
The "powerful bully pulpit of the presidency," he said, should speak out with such messages as: "Fathers take responsibility and care for your children."
"The object of welfare should be able to get every able-bodied adult" off welfare, Cruz told the audience. "[T]he social safety net should be a trampoline and not a hammock."
He told Beck an "unholy alliance" exists on illegal immigration. "The Democrats view illegal immigration and amnesty as just more votes," while Republicans listen to Wall Street and K Street lobbyists, and their view is it is "cheap labor," Cruz said.
"It's not that we don't know how" to fix illegal immigration, he said. "What is missing in Washington is the political will."