Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare rebuke as he blasted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for his remarks at a rally about two conservative Supreme Court justices, calling the comments “threatening.”
Outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Schumer delivered a warning to Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch that they would “pay the price” depending on how they rule in a major abortion case.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” he said of the two justices appointed by President Donald Trump.
The senator added, “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
“We will tell President Trump and Senate Republicans who have stacked the court with right-wing ideologies 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’re gone in November.”
Schumer’s comments came as the Supreme Court heard its first major abortion case with a conservative majority and first major case for under the Trump administration on Wednesday.
Did Senate Democrat leader Schumer just threaten two conservative justices? Where is the media?— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) March 4, 2020
“I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price”pic.twitter.com/MellytNNp5
In response, Roberts offered a rebuke, writing in a letter, “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 added.
NEW: Chief Justice Roberts chastises Schumer for "threatening" statements about Kavanaugh, Gorsuch. pic.twitter.com/jQWHJTfpks— Greg Stohr (@GregStohr) March 4, 2020
Schumer’s office however didn’t back down, as his spokesperson responded, “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 Ginsberg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.”
Schumer’s spokesperson also offered a response earlier after some criticism, saying, “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.”