Chief Justice Roberts Rebukes Schumer Over ‘Threatening’ Comments on Courthouse Steps

March 5, 2020 by Dan McCue
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. arrives to speak to abortion rights demonstrators at a rally outside the Supreme Court, in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, as the court takes up the first major abortion case of the Trump era. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON – Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare statement rebuking Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, for remarks the Senate minority leader made regarding Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning.

Speaking about two hours into a rally of abortion rights supporters outside the Supreme Court building Schumer began his remarks on a light-hearted note, giving a “shout out to my New Yorkers” and noting that New York is a staunchly pro-choice state.

When his initial remarks were drowned out by the chanting of anti-choice demonstrators, Schumer said there appeared to be two rallies going on at once. When told the chanters were against abortion rights, he quipped, “Oh, those are the bad guys” before continuing.

Schumer’s controversial remarks came about a minute into his speech, after he asserted that women’s reproductive rights had been attacked by the Trump administration and Republican legislatures across the country “like at no time in history.”

It was then that he appeared to threaten Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s two Supreme Court nominees, who are widely seen as swinging the court to the right.

Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks outside the Supreme Court building on March 4.

“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 to loud applause.

“You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” he added, turning to look at the Supreme Court building.

Schumer went on to say, “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 going to 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,” he said.

Inside the Supreme Court building, where the court was hearing arguments concerning a controversial Louisiana abortion access law, the justices could neither hear the demonstrators nor Schumers’ remarks.

But Wednesday afternoon, Chief Justice Roberts issued a rare statement, condemning the senator’s remarks.

“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.’

“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,” Roberts said.

Schumer’s office subsequently issued two statements. In the first, a spokesman for the senator said his remarks were a reference to the political price Republicans will pay at the polls for placing the conservative judges on the court.

It was a warning, the spokesman said, “that the justices will unleash major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”

In its second statement, Schumer’s office criticized Roberts for following “the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said,” while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg last week.

The chief justice’s criticism, Schumer’s spokesman said, “shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes,” referring to Trump’s criticism of the two liberal justices and his call for them not to participate in any rulings involving him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he plans to address Schumer’s comments in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday.

According to excerpts of his remarks released ahead of the speech, McConnell will say, “Contrary to what the Democratic leader has tried to claim, he very clearly was not addressing Republican lawmakers or anybody else.”

“He literally directed the statement to the justices, by name. And he said, quote, ‘if you go forward with these awful decisions,’ which could only apply to the court itself. The minority leader of the United States Senate threatened two associate justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Period,” McConnell will say.

In The News

House Democrats Propose Sweeping Infrastructure Revitalization for Next Stimulus
Infrastructure
House Democrats Propose Sweeping Infrastructure Revitalization for Next Stimulus
April 1, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - House Democrats unveiled a wide-ranging and ambitious plan Wednesday to significantly make over the nation's infrastructure while also tamping down on the economic distress caused by the coronavirus outbreak. “We need to invest in our infrastructure to address some of the critical impacts and... Read More

Biden Says Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is On His List for Vice President
2020 Elections
Biden Says Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is On His List for Vice President

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has drawn attention for her scrapes with President Donald Trump over the federal government’s coronavirus response, is on Joe Biden’s list of potential vice presidential candidates, he said in an interview Tuesday. The former vice president made the remarks during... Read More

Inspector General Finds More Problems with FBI Surveillance Applications
Intelligence
Inspector General Finds More Problems with FBI Surveillance Applications

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department watchdog has found more problems with FBI applications to a secret court that approves surveillance as part of counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. The inspector general audit, released Tuesday, could play into the ongoing congressional debate over the program. In December, DOJ... Read More

FDA Asks Judge to Delay E-Cigarette Deadline, Citing Virus
Courts
FDA Asks Judge to Delay E-Cigarette Deadline, Citing Virus

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration asked a federal judge to grant a 120-day delay for a deadline for e-cigarette manufacturers to submit applications to keep their products on the market. Citing “the exceptional circumstances presented by the global coronavirus outbreak,” the agency proposed moving... Read More

Trump Calls for Infrastructure Spending in Next Coronavirus Stimulus Bill
Infrastructure
Trump Calls for Infrastructure Spending in Next Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday joined a growing chorus of lawmakers and lobbyists proposing massive spending on infrastructure in the next coronavirus stimulus bill, calling for a $2 trillion investment. And his endorsement appeared to embrace borrowing to pay for it. “With interest rates... Read More

Pelosi to Push Vote-By-Mail Funding for States in Next Stimulus
Congress
Pelosi to Push Vote-By-Mail Funding for States in Next Stimulus

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the nation must move to a vote-by-mail system amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and that she plans to advocate funding for that in the next stimulus measure. “In terms of the elections, I think that we will probably be moving... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top