Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, crossed a line on Wednesday that drew ire from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, President Donald Trump, and the American Bar Association. Speaking to attendees of a pro-abortion rally outside the nation’s high court, Schumer warned Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch that there would be consequences for voting against abortion rights in a new case before the court.
“You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said, directing his remarks to the two new justices on the bench. “You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Mostly because there’s literally no other way to take it, Schumer’s critics took this as a threat to these members of the Supreme Court.
“Personal attacks on judges by any elected officials, including the president, are simply inappropriate,” the Bar Association said in a statement. “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.”
President Trump also weighed in, saying, “If a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested, or impeached. Serious action MUST be taken NOW!”
In a follow-up tweet, Trump wrote, “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. This is what Chuck Schumer just did. He must pay a severe price for this!”
Schumer’s team has (instead of offering up an immediate and contrite apology) tried to weakly defend the senator with a variety of pathetic tactics. One includes drawing comparisons between Trump’s criticisms of Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
But in his own statement condemning the threat, Chief Justice John Roberts said there was a world of difference between fair criticism and direct threats.
“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,” Roberts said.
Some of Schumer’s critics have said the Minority Leader should apologize. We don’t agree. It’s already too late for that. When your first response is to accuse Roberts of bias, throw whataboutisms at Trump, and allege that this whole controversy is the result of right-wing media, you’ve lost your chance to say you’re sorry. We’re not sure there was ever such a chance, but it’s definitely gone now.
Schumer needs to be removed from the Senate. Period.