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On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), issued a stern warning directed at the two newest Supreme Court Justices. They “’have released the whirlwind’ and that they ‘will pay the price’ if they rule the wrong way.”
The rally was hosted by the Center for Reproductive Rights as the court heard arguments in the high-profile abortion case June Medical Services, LLC. v. Russo. This is the first “major” abortion case since President Trump’s court picks have been on the bench. Sen. Schumer warned the two Trump appointees, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The case involves a disagreement dealing with restrictions over who can perform abortions, involves a Louisiana law similar to one in Texas the court ruled unconstitutional in 2016, before either Trump justice was on the SCOTUS and before conservatives held the crucial 5-4 majority.
“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.”
Although he didn’t explicitly state what “price” this would be, Schumer’s office responded to requests for clarification by stating that, “It’s a reference to the political price [Republicans] will pay for putting them on the court and warning that the justices will unleash a grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”
As the rally continued, Schumer detailed, “We will tell President Trump and Senate Republicans who have stacked the court with right-wing ideologues that you’re gonna be gone in November, and you will never be able to do what you’re trying to do now ever, ever again!”
In a rare move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a strong admonition of Senator Schumer’s words directed toward the two newest justices by calling the words “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” This prompted a war of words response from Schumer’s office slamming the Chief Justice accusing him of bias.
Roberts replied with a statement that reads: “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. 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.”
Late Wednesday, President Trump 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. This is what Chuck Schumer just did. He must pay a severe price for this.”
Rebuke came from a multitude of directions. The Republican Senator from Nebraska, Dr. Ben Sasse, a vocal opponent of abortion, slammed the threats Schumer made on the two Justices. “The Democratic Party is so radicalized on abortion politics that today Chuck Schumer threatened Justice Gorsuchand Justice Kavanaugh if they didn’t strike down a simple, common-sense, pro-woman law that simply says that abortion doctors need to have admission privileges at a local hospital.”
Senator Sasse argued that if a Republican had threatened Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor or Ginsburg, “it would be the biggest story not just in Washington but all across America.” Sasse added, “These bullying tactics need to stop!”
Additionally, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said he plans to introduce a motion to censure Senator Schumer. “I would call on Schumer to apologize, but we all know he has no shame. So tomorrow I will introduce a motion to censure Schumer for his pathetic attempt at intimidation of SCOTUS,“ the junior Missouri Senator tweeted.
The irony should not be lost as Judicial Crisis Network President and co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court, pointed out that less than a month ago, Schumer called on Chief Justice Roberts to condemn President Trump for “publicly attacking a judge.”
The American Bar Association said Wednesday that it is “deeply troubled by Senator Schumer’s comments. “Personal attacks on judges by any elected officials, including the president, are simply inappropriate.” Both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh received “well-qualified” ratings from the ABA. The highest rating the ABA gives.
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