U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was not in the mood to be lectured on Thursday.
The veteran senator became engaged in a verbal spat with freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The panel was debating the merits of a Feinstein-sponsored ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines – the legislation was ultimately approved by the committee – when Cruz began battering Democrats with questions about whether they would limit the First or Fourth Amendment the way he alleged they were attempting to limit the Second.
"I pose to the senator from California [Sen. Diane Feinstein], would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment; namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights,” said Cruz, who previously practiced constitutional law.
For Feinstein, that was enough.
“I’m not a sixth-grader,” she told Cruz, a rising Tea Party star. “I'm not a lawyer, but after 20 years, I've been up-close-and-personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. ... It's fine if you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I've been here for a long time. I've passed a number of bills. I've studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well-educated, and I thank you for the lecture.”
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...