Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seemed to threaten two United States Supreme Court Justices during a Planned Parenthood rally outside of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
“I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” the New York senator bellowed, after accusing the two of “taking away fundamental rights.”
The Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments over the future of a 2014 state law in Louisiana that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to local hospitals.
Pro-life proponents of the law, which is sponsored by Democratic Louisiana State Senator Katrina Jackson, argue this requirement protects women with emergency medical care in case of abortion complications. Pro-abortion advocates argue the law is simply a way to make it more difficult for women seeking abortions to obtain them from providers.
Schumer went on to warn the justices: “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Republican congressmen Paul Gosar of Arizona and Mark Meadows of North Carolina made note of the apparent threat on Twitter:
Chuck Schumer threatening two United States Supreme Court Justices:
“I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) March 4, 2020
Did Senate Democrat leader Schumer just threaten two conservative justices? Where is the media?
“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
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) March 4, 2020
It wasn’t immediately clear why Schumer targeted Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, other than the fact that they are the Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices.
Schumer called the Louisiana law “draconian” and anti-choice” in his own tweet.
SCOTUS just heard the 1st big case on a woman's right to make her own health care decisions since Justices Kavanaugh & Gorsuch
It looks at 1 of 100s of draconian, anti-choice restrictions states tried to pass
We’re here to send a message: Not on our watch! pic.twitter.com/cdjCfe32wi
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 4, 2020
Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million in taxpayer funding each year.
The court has a 5-4 conservative majority, and Chief Justice John Roberts is seen as the central figure in deciding the Louisiana case.
Conservative political analyst Nick Short suggested on Twitter that Schumer was thinking about using “intelligence officials” to get back at the justices.
— Nick Short ?? (@PoliticalShort) March 4, 2020
Schumer famously warned President-elect Trump in of 2017 that he should not to get on the wrong side of the intelligence community because they have ways of getting back at him.
“Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Given the the deep state’s hostility towards Trump these past few years, Schumer’s threat should not be taken lightly.
Chief Justice John Roberts publicly rebuked Schumer in a highly unusual written statement late Wednesday afternoon, saying “statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only appropriate, they are dangerous.”
“This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside,” Roberts said in an extraordinary written statement. “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.'”
Roberts continued: “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’s spokesman Justin Goodman put out a non-apologetic statement late Wednesday excusing the senator’s comments and blasting Chief Justice Roberts for allegedly following “the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation” of what he said.
“It was a reference to the political price Rs will pay for putting them on the court and a warning that the justices will unleash major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision,” Goodman wrote.
“For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen Schumer said, while remaining silent when Pres Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor & Ginsberg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes,” he added.
NEW stmt from Schumer spox: "For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen Schumer said, while remaining silent when Pres Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor & Ginsberg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.” pic.twitter.com/9908ZAeNkz
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) March 4, 2020
It’s hard to see how Schumer’s comments were deliberately “misinterpreted” when he specifically addressed Kavanaugh and Gorsuch (not “Senate Republicans”) and said: “You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”
President Trump weighed in on Schumer’s Planned Parenthood comments Wednesday evening, calling them a “direct and dangerous threat to the Supreme Court.”
This is a direct & dangerous threat to the U.S. Supreme Court by Schumer. If a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested, or impeached. Serious action MUST be taken NOW! https://t.co/WqQUbyzaJU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2020
In a subsequent Tweet, the president tweeted that Schumer “must pay a severe price” for threatening Supreme Court justices.
There can be few things worse in a civilized, law abiding nation, than a United States Senator openly, and for all to see and hear, threatening the Supreme Court or its Justices. This is what Chuck Schumer just did. He must pay a severe price for this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2020