The Texas Supreme Court Just Debunked PolitiFact’s ‘Fact Check’ Of Ted Cruz

The Texas Supreme Court Just Debunked PolitiFact’s ‘Fact Check’ Of Ted Cruz

After deeming Sen. Ted Cruz’s comments about arresting state Democratic representatives who fled the state of Texas to avoid a vote last month “false,” the notorious liars at PolitiFact were just fact-checked by the Texas Supreme Court. No surprise here — PolitiFact got it wrong.

When nearly 60 representatives deserted the job they were elected to do in order to block a GOP voting bill in July, Cruz said he expected their arrest upon return.

“There is clear legal authority to handcuff and put in leg irons legislators that are trying to stop the legislature from being able to do business,” Cruz said in July.

PolitiFact “fact-checked” Cruz’s statement as false, noting that the term “arrest” has many different interpretations and that it would take a court of law to substantiate Cruz’s claims.

“The Texas House Rules states that absent lawmakers can ‘be sent for and arrested, wherever they may be found.’ But, because absent lawmakers aren’t charged with a crime, it’s unclear how the use of the word ‘arrest’ should be interpreted in this context. This is because no Texas court has reviewed how this provision is to be enforced. Thus, there is no legal clarity,” the PolitiFact review read.

On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court did just that, and voted to overturn an order that protects the Democrats from arrest, meaning that all 60 could indeed be “handcuffed and put in leg irons” if they return.

But PolitiFact should have retracted the statement long ago, even before the court’s ruling. Texas Democrats admitted in July that they “would be going to a jail… [police] would take us against our will to the House floor.”

PolitiFact gave Cruz a “false” label, but the fact check itself doesn’t point out any falsehoods in Cruz’s statement. Instead, it says that “Cruz’s interpretation of the constitution doesn’t appear to be shared by all,” which isn’t a hard-hitting, definite statement the outlet should have staked their claim on.

Cruz, a former Texas Solicitor General and law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, took to Twitter Tuesday, calling on PolitiFact to issue a correction.

Years ago, Facebook gave PolitiFact the power to censor political speech on its platform but the opinion website has repeatedly abused its position, spreading false claims and fake news under the guise of fact-checking. Even after being proven wrong by a court of law, the site has yet to walk back its claim, which speaks volumes about PolitiFact’s commitment to the truth.

Haley Strack is an intern at The Federalist and a student at Hillsdale College studying politics and journalism. Follow her on Twitter @StrackHaley or reach her at [email protected]
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Photo Gage Skidmore
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