One Fox News analyst says that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) doesn’t have to worry about being held legally accountable for the threats he made against two Supreme Court Justices this week. Why?
Because, according to Judge Andrew Napolitano, Schumer’s comments are protected by the Constitution.
Napolitano appears to be taking Schumer’s side in this controversy and doesn’t consider the Democrat’s comments to have been an actual threat. “For this to be a threat, [Schumer] would have to have had the present apparent ability to carry it out at the moment he uttered it, which he didn’t,” Napolitano said during a recent appearance on the “Fox News Rundown” podcast. “And the Supreme Court has ruled that this type of speech is protected.”
Schumer’s protected threat
This all stems from comments that Schumer made at a pro-choice rally in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!” Schumer said. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Schumer’s comments were in reference to the fact that the Supreme Court was at that time hearing a case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, in which the justices could weaken abortion rights. Hence, Schumer’s threat.
Subsequently, the New York senator faced bipartisan condemnation and even a rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts himself. “Threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous,” Roberts said.
Schumer, however, continued undeterred, first by going after Roberts and then by attempting to soften his original language.
“Now I should not have used the words I used,” he said. “They didn’t come out the way I intended to. I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language.”
Despite all of this, however, Napolitano argues that Schumer’s speech is protected, at least from a legal perspective.
Schumer, in contrast, still can be reprimanded by Congress, such as by being censured or even removed as Senate Minority leader, a remedy recently suggested by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
What is clear, though, is that something has to be done. For the health of our country, we can’t just let a senator go around making threats to members of the Supreme Court.