Chuck Schumer’s classless attack on Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh this week might have been a new low for the Democrat senator from New York — but it’s not out of character for him or his party, according to one columnist.
Back in 2010, Schumer enthusiastically applauded President Barack Obama when he openly disrespected the Supreme Court for a ruling he didn’t like, Joel Pollak wrote in a piece for Breitbart Wednesday. Schumer’s contempt for the Supreme Court’s political independence was again on display Wednesday when the senator made a vague threat to Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, both Trump appointees.
Schumer slams SCOTUS
It’s an open secret that Democrats have long viewed the courts, most of all the Supreme Court, as a tool and a weapon, not an independent institution. At Obama’s State of the Union address in 2010, Schumer showed his enthusiasm for President Obama’s philosophy of judicial activism by “leaping to his feet,” according to Pollak, when the former president sharply rebuked the court for the controversial Citizens United decision — with the Supreme Court’s nine judges sitting right in front of him.
“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said, according to Pollak. “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities… They should be decided by the American people.”
It was completely in character for President Obama, who used the bully pulpit to push for gun control, signed an amnesty into law by executive order, and pushed nationwide same-sex marriage on the country through judicial fiat.
“You won’t know what hit you”
According to NBC News, Justice Samuel Alito was criticized at the time for shaking his head in disagreement and mouthing the words, “Not true.” (The horror!) But the real problem appears to be not that Alito had shown a political leaning, but that he had the wrong politics.
For Democrats like Schumer, respect for the Supreme Court is only in order when judges make the “right” decisions — and Schumer took things much further this week, warning that Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch will “pay the price” if they dare to issue a ruling against abortion rights, Pollak noted. The senator’s remarks came as the Supreme Court was preparing to hear the first significant abortion case since Donald Trump appointed Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
“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 a transcript provided by RealClearPolitics.
“Inappropriate” and “dangerous”
Schumer’s threat prompted a storm of criticism from Republican senators and President Donald Trump, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, who issued an unusual rebuke. “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,” Roberts said, according to NBC.
The controversy reflects the Democrats’ increasingly militant approach to holding on to power — power that is threatened by the presidency of Donald Trump and his judicial appointments, who will leave an imprint long after Trump leaves office. Democrats have settled on the consensus that judges must support abortion, same-sex marriage, and other progressive articles of faith to be “qualified.”
Clearly remorseless, Schumer made a non-apology on Thursday to the effect that his words were somehow misinterpreted. The Democrat blamed Republican colleagues for stoking phony “outrage.”
“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, and Leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who were busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that, too,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, according to NBC.