Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts on Wednesday issued a forceful counter to the “irresponsible” and “dangerous” threats that were issued by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Schumer’s extremely inappropriate threats came hours earlier at a pro-choice rally hosted by the center for Reproductive rights. While speaking before the crowd, Schumer dangerously singled out specifically President Trump’s two Supreme Court Picks.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!” Schumer warned. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Roberts replied in his remarkable written statement: “This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside. Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that ‘You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.'”
Roberts continued: “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
Video of Schumer’s incredulous remarks had quickly circulated on social media, with Republicans and even prominent liberals casting the comments as a clear threat against two sitting Supreme Court justices.
Schumer, they said, had gone far beyond merely requesting that justices recuse themselves as he stood in front of the Supreme Court Building.
Later, Trump would used Schumer’s own words to condemn him.
“There can be few things worse in a civilized, law abiding nation, than a United States Senator openly, and for all to see and hear, threatening the Supreme Court or its Justices,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “This is what Chuck Schumer just did. He must pay a severe price for this!”
Trump also tweeted: “This is a direct & dangerous threat to the U.S. Supreme Court by Schumer. If a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested, or impeached. Serious action MUST be taken NOW!”
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said that he would introduce a resolution to censure Schumer after his violent comments.
“I would call on Schumer to apologize, but we all know he has no shame,” Hawley wrote. “So tomorrow I will introduce a motion to censure Schumer for his pathetic attempt at intimidation of #SupremeCourt.”
“The American Bar Association is deeply troubled by today’s statements from the Senate Minority Leader threatening two sitting justices of the U.S. Supreme Court over their upcoming votes in a pending case,” the ABA said in a statement.
“Whatever one thinks about the merits of an issue before a court, there is no place for threats — whether real or allegorical. Personal attacks on judges by any elected officials, including the President, are simply inappropriate. Such comments challenge the reputation of the third, co-equal branch of our government; the independence of the judiciary; and the personal safety of judicial officers. They are never acceptable,” the statement continues.
Schumer noted at the rally that an upcoming Supreme Court case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, is the first “major” abortion case since President Trump’s court picks have been on the bench.
The law in question requires abortion doctors in Louisiana to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case a patient experiences complications during or after a procedure.
Those backing the law argue that it regulates abortion providers similarly to how other medical providers are regulated by the state while also ensuring doctors are competent. Opponents claim that it is targeted at abortion providers with the goal of shutting them down.