Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called out Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh by name on Wednesday, threatening that they would “pay the price” if they rule against abortion rights in an upcoming case. But it looks like the New York Democrat may have gone a little too far.
According to Breitbart, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a scathing rebuke of Schumer later Wednesday, charging that his remarks on Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were both “inappropriate” and “dangerous.”
An “inappropriate” outburst
Schumer’s outburst came as the high court was hearing arguments regarding a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — a standard minimum for virtually all health facilities.
Speaking at a pro-abortion rally on the steps of the court, Schumer decried the law as an “attack” on women and accused Republican-led states of attempting to take away women’s “fundamental rights.”
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Schumer said, according to Breitbart.
Schumer’s remarks were widely perceived as a clear threat against the pair of conservative jurists — and it didn’t take long before Chief Justice Roberts issued the rare rebuke in response.
“This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside,” Roberts wrote in the statement. “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.’
“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,” the chief justice added. “All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
What price will Schumer pay?
Facing considerable criticism over this threatening remarks — including from some on his own side of the political aisle — Schumer and his team attempted to control the damage, walking back his remarks with the excuse that the Senate leader meant to direct his threat toward Senate Republicans. He clarified that the “price” to pay that he was referring to was a political one in terms of the GOP losing control of the Senate in the next election.
But that isn’t at all what Schumer actually said, and everyone knows it. The question now is what sort of political “price” Schumer himself will pay for crossing the line and threatening two sitting members of the Supreme Court.
For his part, President Trump hopes it’s a severe one.
“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 tweeted Wednesday. “This is what Chuck Schumer just did. He must pay a severe price for this!”