by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Chief Justice John Roberts condemned Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) as “dangerous” after the New York Democrat made threatening statements as justices heard oral arguments in a controversial abortion case on Wednesday.
Congressional Democrats took a hostile tack toward the Court’s Trump appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed pro-abortion demonstrators rallying in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday morning and promised the pair would “pay the price” if they voted to restrict abortion access. Chief Justice Roberts called such rhetoric “dangerous” in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” Roberts said. “All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
The top Senate Democrat defended his remarks in a statement released by his office. Despite mentioning Gorsuch and Kavanaugh by name, a spokesman for Schumer said his threats were directed at Senate Republicans and criticized Roberts for his “deliberate misinterpretation” of what was said. …
… Roberts appears to hold the deciding vote in the abortion case that could change the legal landscape for pro-life reforms and signal how the High Court’s newly entrenched conservative majority will approach the deeply divisive issue. Soon after Schumer stood on the Court steps and declared, “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” the justices listened to oral arguments about a Louisiana law that would require abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.