Cruz: Obama’s View of Federal Power ‘Knows Virtually No Bounds’

Elizabeth Harrington | April 10, 2013 | 6:01am EDT
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (AP photo)

( - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) released a report documenting attempted abuses of federal power by the Obama administration on Tuesday, saying the administration “knows virtually no bounds.”

Cruz points to Obama’s own Supreme Court appointees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, to make his case:

"When President Obama’s own Supreme Court nominees join their colleagues in unanimously rejecting the Administration’s call for broader federal power six times in just over one year, the inescapable conclusion is that the Obama Administration’s view of federal power knows virtually no bounds,” the senator’s report said.

The Obama administration’s over-reaching includes attempts to electronically track Americans without cause and deny churches the right to choose their own ministers.

Cruz, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, said the cases “demonstrate an astonishing view of federal power on behalf of the Obama Administration.”

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the President’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” he said.

“Luckily, we do not have to live in that America,” Cruz added.

In one case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC, the Justice Department argued it “had the right to oversee a church’s choosing of ministers,” which even Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan called “amazing.”

Cruz highlights one exchange between Kagan and Leondra Kruger, a DOJ lawyer, in which Kagan asked, “Do you believe, Ms. Kruger, that a church has a right that’s grounded in the Free Exercise Clause and/or the Establishment Clause to institutional autonomy with respect to its employees?”

“We don’t see that line of church autonomy principles in the Religious Clause jurisprudence as such,” Kruger said.

Kagan, who served as Solicitor General under Obama, said it was “amazing” that DOJ believed that “neither the Free Exercise Clause nor the Establishment Clause has anything to say about a church’s relationship with its own employees.”

The court went on to unanimously reject the DOJ’s claim, saying, “We cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization's freedom to select its own ministers.”

In another case, United States v. Jones, the DOJ argued that the federal government could attach a GPS system to a car without cause, despite the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures.

The DOJ said it did not constitute a search because a “GPS system is already in public view and a person should not expect it to be private.”  The court again unanimously rejected its claim.

“The Obama Administration, through its Department of Justice, has repeatedly advocated a radical theory of sweeping federal power,” the report says.

Cruz said he will continue to document cases “as long as this Administration continues seeking ways to expand its power in direct violation of Americans’ constitutional rights.”

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