News & Politics

Chief Justice Roberts Blasts Schumer's 'Dangerous' Threats to Gorsuch and Kavanaugh; Schumer Responds

In this image from video, presiding officer Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts speaks as closing arguments in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump begin in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made an unmistakable threat to Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch during a pro-abortion rally in front of the Supreme Court. He called them out by name before warning them, “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.”

The threats did not go unnoticed by the Supreme Court, prompting a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts Wednesday evening, calling Schumer’s threats “irresponsible” and “dangerous.”

Here is Chief Justice Roberts’ statement:

This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside. 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.

Rather than admit his rhetoric was inappropriate, Schumer’s spokesman Justin Goodman accused Roberts of bias in a statement made to Fox News.

“Sen. Schumer’s comments were a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision,” Goodman claimed. “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.”

President Trump didn’t threaten Sotomayor or Ginsburg but simply argued they’d demonstrated anti-Trump bias and should recuse themselves from Trump-related cases.

It is clear from the video that Schumer was specifically saying Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would pay a price, not Senate Republicans.

This story is developing.