Chief Justice John Roberts chastised Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday in an unusual clash between two branches of government, Fox News reported.
“Statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous,” Roberts said. “All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
Roberts was responding to threatening statements that Schumer made about Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who he said would “pay the price” if they dared to vote against abortion rights. Schumer has thus far refused to apologize for the comments.
Roberts issues rare rebuke of Schumer
Schumer’s vague threats came as the Supreme Court was slated to hear the first significant abortion case since President Donald Trump added justices to the high court. At a pro-abortion rally outside the Supreme Court, the New York senator said that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh “won’t know what hit [them]” if they issue an ideologically unacceptable ruling.
“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.
WATCH: Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer threatens U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett 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!”pic.twitter.com/e1qKzocJDj
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 4, 2020
Criticism came in from every quarter — from Trump, from Republicans, and even some Trump foes — in response to Schumer’s comments, which many interpreted as an incitement to violence. Schumer’s office rushed into damage control mode, insisting that he had been mistaken — that Schumer was referring to Republicans paying at the ballot box, not the justices themselves.
But Roberts clearly got the message. Schumer’s office, in turn, fired back by accusing Roberts of having a political bias, saying: “For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said, while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.”
Schumer’s office was referring to Trump’s calls for Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both stridently and openly liberal judges, to recuse themselves from cases related to him or his administration. Ginsburg had previously apologized for calling Trump a “faker,” and Sotomayor recently accused her conservative colleagues on the bench of allowing their political bias in favor of Trump to cloud their judicial independence.
The difference, of course, is that Trump was criticizing judges who have shown actual political prejudice against him, while Schumer was making statements of a threatening nature against sitting justices on the court.
The Democrat had still refused to apologize as of Thursday, when he made a speech on the Senate floor accusing Republicans of stoking “outrage” against him in bad faith, NBC News reported. The Democrat made only the thinnest attempt at a mea culpa, asserting that his words had been somehow misinterpreted.
The senator’s threats are just the latest example of the Democrats’ growing militancy, particularly with respect to consolidation of power on the courts. Ever since Trump appointed two conservatives to the Supreme Court, Democrats have suddenly grown very concerned about its so-called “neutrality” while simultaneously threatening judges who refuse to toe the progressive line.
Schumer is speaking like a man who knows the media will let him off the hook. Experience says he is probably right