Hearing erupts when Mazie Hirono orders Ted Cruz to stop ‘mansplaining’

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) inappropriately chimed in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday to scold Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) over what she termed “mansplaining” while he questioned District Court Judge Gustavo Gelpi concerning constitutional originalism.

The contentious hearing went off the rails as Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) was chairing the exchange and cut Cruz off. The senator referred to the usual state of commity in the hearings and that perhaps since Ossoff was new to this he did not know that. Senator Cruz was visibly upset that he had been interrupted in getting an answer from Gelpi on originalism in judicial rulings and pointed out that the chairman doesn’t usually jump in like that.

As Ossoff gaveled for order over the top of Cruz’s objection, Hirono inserted herself into the confrontation with a point of personal privilege. “I would request that my colleague Senator Cruz not mistake what I’m saying and, you know what, all this mansplaining — please stop,” Hirono remarked.

The confusing statement baffled Cruz who asked Hirono to explain what he had mischaracterized with regards to what she said and then did not receive an answer. That set Ossoff again with his heavy-handed gaveling. It seems apparent that Hirono objects to all things having to do with originalism and was trying to make the interview of the judge more about her personal political stance than one of substance concerning constitutional law.

(Video Credit: The Hill)

Cruz quipped to Ossoff as he pounded the gavel: “I’m very proud you have a gavel. But, a point of personal privilege… Senator Hirono just said I mischaracterized something she said. So, I am asking her what was mischaracterized. You’re welcome to explain what was mischaracterized.” Silence followed. Cruz stated: “Okay, so you’re not going to say how it was mischaracterized.”

At that point, Ossoff told Cruz he could respond to Hirono. Cruz continued: “I described what Senator Hirono said. I asked the judge if he agreed with her defense that he should not embrace originalism because it would not allow him to reach outcomes that she favored. She’s now come back and said that was a mischaracterization of what she said, so I’m enquiring what is mischaracterized.”

Hirono then made things even murkier: “Mr. Chairman, very briefly, because otherwise, you know, the thing with my colleague is he always has to get the last word. And that is a fact. But, one of the ways [that he] mischaracterizes [is] that I do not object to originalism as applied because it results in decisions that I don’t agree with. I disagree with the way that the court proceeded and some of the members of the court and how they proceed with originalism to get to the results that they want. So, that’s it.”

Cruz asked: “Is it not accurate that you said that you thought originalism shouldn’t be followed because it would lead to a different result… is that not what you said just a few minutes ago?”

Hirono answered “no.”

Cruz stated, “Well, the record is clear.”

To which Hirono responded: “Some of the court members apply originalism, not all of them do. And that is why in some instances they have been in the minority.”

The Texas senator retorted: “The record is clear on what you said and now you’re saying you didn’t say it.”

The exchange ended at that point after Hirono backtracked and waffled on the subject matter. Her answers were not clarifying.

Cruz’s questioning of Gelpi follows President Biden nominating him to sit on the First Circuit Court of Appeals.


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