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As a Supreme Court clerk, Ted Cruz was 'obsessed' with the death penalty

Sen. Ted Cruz had a reputation for being "obsessed" with the death penalty when he was serving as a clerk of Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 1996, according to colleagues who spoke with The New York Times.

"That I think was a special interest of his," former clerk Renée Lerner told the Times. Lerner also remarked on how Cruz paid special attention to the more grisly details of murders in his memos, rather than summarizing them and moving on to the legal merits of the case as other clerks tended to do. "It was unusual for a Supreme Court clerk to do that," Lerner said.

Another clerk described Cruz's style more bluntly as being like a "dime store novel":

Clerks for liberal justices expressed the strongest distaste for Mr. Cruz's death penalty memos, and sometimes made their antipathy known. Several clerks for conservative justices said that while they usually agreed with his conclusions, his writing needlessly provoked the death penalty opponents working at the court. Those clerks declined to be quoted criticizing Mr. Cruz, however, saying they did not want to anger someone who could become the next president. [The New York Times]

Read more about Cruz's stint in the Supreme Court at The New York Times.