As reported in a prior post, on December 4, 2012, the U.S. Senate voted 61 to 38 to give its Advice and Consent to U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This, however, fell six votes short of the two-thirds vote required by Article II, § 2(2) of the U.S. Constitution. This failure happened even though the treaty essentially adopted the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act and was supported by all 51 Democratic, 2 Independent and 8 Republican Senators.
The 38 “No” votes were all cast by Republican Senators despite the support of the treaty by Robert Dole, the former Republican Majority and Minority Leader of the Senate and the Party’s presidential candidate in 1996, who was on the Senate floor in his wheelchair to garner support for the treaty.
We now learn that on that day (December 4, 2012), Ted Cruz, in the month before he became the new U.S. Senator from Texas, attended a Senate Republican caucus meeting and spoke against the treaty as an infringement of U.S. sovereignty and urged the Republican Senators to vote against the treaty. After the lunch, according to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, the Republican Senators emerged “scared as hell.” For Republican Senator John McCain, “It was the most embarrassing day in my time in the Senate, to force Bob Dole to watch that.” All of this is in an article (The Absolutist) by Jeffrey Toobin in the June 30, 2014, issue of the New Yorker.