Cruz disciples take aim at Obama’s immigration orders Read more: Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

A pair of Texas litigators are following Cruz’s lead as they gird for a Supreme Court battle this April.

On the campaign trail, Ted Cruz has vowed to rescind President Barack Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration — but it’s two of his former aides who could actually kill it.

Scott Keller and Chip Roy — who served in top roles in Cruz’s Senate office — are now litigators on behalf of Texas, leading the lawsuit against Obama’s unilateral actions, which are at the cornerstone of the president’s immigration legacy. The duo’s positions also underscore Cruz’s enduring influence and reach at the Texas attorney general’s office, where the Republican presidential candidate served as the state’s top appellate lawyer and built a launching pad for his political career.

Keller and Roy are now preparing for high-stakes oral arguments at the Supreme Court in April, hoping to persuade enough justices to rule that Obama’s 2014 executive actions to grant work permits to more than 4 million immigrants in the United States illegally flies in the face of the separation of powers. A decision is expected in June.

To the two men, Cruz isn’t just a former boss or an old professor who grabbed drinks with them after a tough legal seminar. Nowadays, Cruz is a mentor who instilled key lessons the lawyers keep in mind during heated legal battles.
“One of the most important lessons or things I learned from my time under Sen. Cruz was how to distill down your message,” Keller said in a phone interview with Politico. “When you’re in court, obviously you can get into the technical weeds … but it’s important to remember the high-level messaging.”

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