Chief Justice John Roberts Rebukes Sen. Chuck Schumer For ‘Threatening Statements’ During Abortion Rights Rally
Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) for a seeming threat he made to two Supreme Court justices during a rally for abortion rights in front of the courthouse on Wednesday.
Schumer singled out Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two conservative judges appointed by President Donald Trump, who were weighing in on their first abortion rights case since joining the bench.
“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.
He continued: “The bottom line is very simple: we will stand with the American people. We will stand with American women. 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. You hear that over there on the far-right? You’re gone in November.”
The case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, questions the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. A similar law in Texas was deemed unconstitutional by the court in 2016, as it placed an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.
Roberts admonished the senator for his comments in a statement Wednesday afternoon, noting that “threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”
“This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside,” Roberts said. “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.'”
The Chief Justice 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.”
After conservative backlash and Roberts’ reprimand, Schumer explained Thursday on the Senate floor that his words “didn’t come out the way [he] intended.”
“I should not have used the words I used,” Schumer said. “They didn’t come out the way I intended,” adding that “my point was that there would be political consequences for President Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court, with the newly confirmed justices stripped away at a woman’s right to choose.”
Schumer said, “I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat, I never, never would do such a thing.”