Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare statement rebuking Chuck Schumer for comments the Senate minority leader made about Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Schumer, speaking at a rally of abortion rights supporters, appeared to threaten Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s two Supreme Court nominees who were confirmed after bruising nomination fights.
“I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. 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,” Schumer said.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Roberts said: “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.”
Schumer’s comments came as the Supreme Court heard over an hour of arguments concerning a controversial Louisiana abortion access law that critics say will leave just one doctor in the state to perform the procedure.
Key justices indicated that they could be poised to uphold the law that is similar to a Texas law the Court struck down just four years ago. Roberts and Kavanaugh both asked questions suggesting that the Louisiana law that requires doctors to have admitting privileges in local hospitals could serve a valid purpose.
Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said criticism of the New York Democrat’s comments are a “deliberate misinterpretation.”
You can watch Schumer’s statement below.