After serving over five years as the state of Texas’ top lawyer, Cruz in 2008 joined the Houston office of the high-powered, international law firm Morgan Lewis to lead its Supreme Court and national appellate practice. He stepped down as a partner in the firm after being elected a US senator in 2012. During his stint at Morgan Lewis, Cruz, who casts himself as a politician who stands on principle, handled several cases that cut against his political stances. He twice worked on cases in New Mexico to secure $50 million-plus jury awards (though, as a politician, he has called for tort reform that would prevent these sorts of awards). He assisted a lawsuit filed by a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and nearly executed (though, as a politician, he has insisted the criminal justice system functions just fine when it comes to capital punishment). And in one case, he filed a brief supporting President Barack Obama’s stimulus (though, as a politician, Cruz has slammed this Obama initiative).
But much of the time, Cruz represented corporate clients. He was a lawyer for Kraft in a major lawsuit against Starbucks. He represented Pfizer when a California county accused the drug manufacturer and other pharmaceutical firms of overcharging. (In a win for Big Pharma, the Supreme Court tossed out the case.) He defended Eagle Freight Systems when drivers sued the company seeking unpaid overtime wages and expenses. (Cruz lost a bid to uphold a lower court ruling that shut down the drivers’ suit. Two years later, when Cruz was no longer involved in the case, the trucking company prevailed.) In a controversial move, he represented a Pennsylvania developer, who was a central player in a corruption scandal that exploited juveniles, handling a dispute this crooked developer had with his insurance company.
Cruz, a tea party favorite who calls himself a “courageous conservative,” has railed against “crony capitalism” and decried “corporate welfare.” He has boasted that he authored “legislation to end federal dollars subsidizing corporate fat cats.” Yet as a private legal gun-for-hire—who billed at least $695 per hour—Cruz sometimes defended corporations that engaged in sleazy practices to screw the little guy or gal.
Uh … so? When people go into the practice of law, they represent lots of people and entities. Public defenders represent rapists, child abusers, and murderers, along with those accused of all sorts of crimes. And here, one of Corn’s issues is that Cruz actually defended someone who shouldn’t have been convicted as some sort of example of hypocrisy, even though literally no one would argue that the man was not entitled to a defense and an appeal. (And in this case, the system did work, albeit imperfectly.) In our legal system, everyone’s entitled to a defense. Most people above the age of 12 already realize that, except perhaps on certain college campuses where any stimuli more intellectually strenuous than dancing teddy bears are verboten.
Bear in mind that Cruz didn’t work as in-house counsel for his corporate clients (although that still wouldn’t mean anything). They hired his firm as outside counsel to represent them in specific legal conflicts. In legal parlance, that’s called work. Without attorneys on both sides, the legal system in this country wouldn’t function, even when legal processes involve entities that Mother Jones finds morally intolerable. By the way, you have to love Corn’s attempt to make a case that the Supreme Court tossed out look sleazy for the lawyer on the winning side (“a win for Big Pharma”).
Occasionally we see this argument from conservatives regarding Democrats running for public office. It’s just as asinine under those circumstances as it is here. If a candidate conducted personal activism for a cause, then certainly that’s a legitimate area of debate. The fact that a lawyer represented clients, especially as outside counsel, isn’t even worth noting except to explain what someone did for a period of time on a resumé. If this is all Mother Jones has to report, then perhaps they should take a long vacation.
Update: Updated the front-page pic to something …. a little more appropriate.
Update: Had Mother Jones found any evidence of unethical or incompetent practice on Cruz’ part, this might have been interesting. One presidential candidate actually does have that kind of track record in private practice, although I doubt Corn and Mother Jones will take as keen an interest in Hillary Clinton:
The victim’s allegation that Clinton smeared her following her rape is based on a May 1975 court affidavit written by Clinton on behalf of Thomas Alfred Taylor, one of the two alleged attackers, whom Clinton was appointed to defend.
“I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing,” Clinton, then named Hillary D. Rodham, wrote in the affidavit. “I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body. Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.”
Clinton also wrote that a child psychologist told her that children in early adolescence “tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences,” especially when they come from “disorganized families, such as the complainant.”
The victim vigorously denied Clinton’s accusations and said there has never been any explanation of what Clinton was referring to in that affidavit. She claims she never accused anyone of attacking her before her rape.
“I’ve never said that about anyone. I don’t know why she said that. I have never made false allegations. I know she was lying,” she said. “I definitely didn’t see older men. I don’t know why Hillary put that in there and it makes me plumb mad.”
Let’s also not forget her record on the Watergate panel, either. That should keep Corn busy for a while.