Speaking directly to Feinstein, Cruz asked: “Would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing to 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? Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures, could properly apply only to the following specified individuals, and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the law?”
Visibly angry, Feinstein shot back.
“I’m not a sixth grader,” she said. “I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal with the Constitution. I have great respect for it.”
“It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution, I appreciate it,” she continued, staring at Cruz, who glared back at her. “Just know that I’ve been here 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. Incidentally, this [bill] does not prohibit — you use the word prohibit – it exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high-powered weapons that other people use in close combat? I don’t think so. So I come from a different place than you do.”
As Feinstein spoke, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and other Democrats also stared at Cruz, nodding in agreement with her.
Feinstein later apologized to Cruz for her heated response: “You sort of got my dander up,” she said.