Defying the Supreme Court

Ted Cruz Channels Andrew Jackson

Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears

Although I don’t always agree with Supreme Court decisions I respect the authority of the country’s highest court.

When Ted Cruz told NPR this week the court ruled incorrectly on marriage equality and national health care I felt a chill.

Public relations stars aligned for Cruz: he’s announced his candidacy for president and is embarking on a book tour—fodder for headlines.

News reporters clamor for interviews and Cruz doesn’t disappoint.

According to reporter Steve Inskeep, “Cruz is making a case for ignoring last week’s Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

At first blush, ignoring laws simply seems loony.

I’d hate to give authority to someone like Cruz who promises to defy the Supreme Court.

That’s precisely what Andrew Jackson did as president.

Jackson defied the Court and took matters into his own hands.

The Supreme Court famously ruled in favor of the Cherokee Tribe in 1832, upholding treaties that honored tribes as sovereign nations not subject to whims.

But Jackson, who pushed through Congress the American Indian Removal Act of 1830, threatened to defy the court if the Cherokee didn’t leave.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling.

In 1838, Jackson sent armed troops to Georgia—some 7,000 soldiers—who forced the Cherokee at gun-point off their lands.

“They were not allowed time to gather their belongings, and as they left, whites looted their homes. Then began the march known as the Trail of Tears, in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands,” according to Africans in America.

The forced march from New Echota to Tahlequah is about the same distance as Los Angeles to Portland.

After removing the Cherokee, the Chickasaws, the Creeks and the Seminoles, some 25 million acres of land were parceled off to settlers.

And no one defied President Jackson.

I hope someone defies Ted Cruz.


Trail of Tears image (uncredited) from


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, Indian, native american, Native Science and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Defying the Supreme Court

  1. Yes, this is indeed chilling, although I fear most people simply hear it as more noise. I find myself endlessly explaining Andrew Jackson to others, along with the Boston Tea Party……

    I am most appreciative that you have followed my blog. Thank you.


  2. Pingback: Thoughts on the 4th of July | Dreaming the World

  3. Cynthia, I found myself sitting with this post, as it addresses some deep dissatisfaction I have been feeling around the July 4th holiday. I’ve written about that, quoting, and linking to, your post. (I hope respectfully.) Please let me know if you have concerns.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s