Yet another bizarre chapter in a bizarre presidential race.
In college, Ted Cruz was a star of the Princeton Debate Panel, even making their Hall of Fame. (Modestly, he has resisted the urge to be introduced at GOP presidential debates as “Hall of Famer Ted Cruz.”)
Cruz went on to become a lawyer and the Texas Solicitor General, who “directly handles those appeals determined to be the most significant to Texas.”
Thus a man who prided himself on being able to argue any topic—he would sometimes let opponents choose which side they wanted him to take—was often called upon to defend the laws of Texas.
When the law was a ban on dealing dildos, the result was one sexy, sexy legal filing.
Cruz’s brief included this remarkable sentence: ‘There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.’ Translation: ‘James Madison wasn’t worried about protecting your sex toys… though he might have been intrigued by some of the more complicated ones.’
As the Texas Solicitor General from 2003 to 2008, Cruz was obligated to follow the instructions of Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s now the governor. Thus the case does not necessarily reflect his personal beliefs. Indeed, Cruz declared in a recent interview: “What people do in their own private time with their selves is their own business.”
A quick look at a case that would have left Matlock hyperventilating.
The Law. The Texas Penal Code prohibited the “advertisement and sale” of “dildos, artificial vaginas, and other obscene devices.” If you could somehow find and bring them back to your home, you were welcome to enjoy them… but you shouldn’t acquire too many, because if you had six or more you were presumed to be promoting sex-toy usage and, as a result, breaking the law.
And yes, Texas did enforce it: In 2004 a 43-year-old mother selling sex toys at a private home in a sort of adult Tupperware party had two undercover officers bust her.
This triggered a legal battle over the law’s constitutionality, with Hall of Famer Ted Cruz getting involved in 2007.
The Brief. Cruz co-wrote a 76-page brief in defense of the law. Part of the argument acknowledges that Texans have a right to use devices in the privacy of their own home. (A right Texans did not technically acquire until 2003, with the Supreme Court’s 7-2 Lawrence vs. Texas ruling legalizing sodomy: Even dissenter Clarence Thomas described the contested Texas law as “uncommonly silly.”)
However, there was still no explicit right to the commercialization of such products, and this is where Cruz showed the game that made him Hall-worthy.
Declaring Texas had to protect “public morals” and that allowing the ready purchase of dildos/artificial vaginas was akin to “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy,” the brief included this remarkable sentence:
“There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” Translation: “James Madison wasn’t worried about protecting your sex toys… though he might have been intrigued by some of the more complicated ones.”
But not even a Hall of Famer can win them all. Just like the national debate quarterfinals in 1992, Cruz fell short here, losing the court of appeals ruling in 2008. Just barely though, as it was a 2-1 vote.
Cruz filed two briefs challenging the ruling, losing one and eventually dropping the other.
Today, Cruz is running for president. He still has a way to go before the presidency and should he make it there he’ll be good and busy—abolishing the IRS takes time—but even if he decides it’s time for a crackdown on commercializing the stimulation of genitals for non-medical purposes, relax: You can always make your own.
Until then, may Americans everywhere keep on furiously masturbating with whatever they damn well please.