Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare public rebuke of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who delivered what seemed very much like a threat in a rally at the Supreme Court, saying that the conservative justices would “pay the price” if they voted to uphold that Louisiana anti-abortion law. Roberts is right, but also being a hypocrite.
In a highly unusual statement issued by the court, the chief justice recounted comments Schumer (N.Y.) had directed at Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh and said: “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.”
Schumer, speaking to abortion rights supporters Wednesday morning as the Supreme Court heard arguments in an important abortion case from Louisiana, called out the two by name.
“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.”
I don’t want to hear anyone defend Schumer because I think we know damn well that if this same statement was made by Mitch McConnell about Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor, we’d all be outraged — and justifiably so. Politicians should not be making such statements about justices or judges. But at the same time, where was Roberts when Trump was viciously attacking judges and justices constantly? He has made a couple vague statements about protecting judicial independence, but nothing on the level of this kind of direct and pointed response to the almost daily attacks from Trump against any judge who rules in a way he doesn’t like.