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Schumer's threats to justices not just idle talk

Debra Saunders on

WASHINGTON -- Unlike President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tends to be precise in his language.

So when Schumer stood before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and called out two justices by threatening they would "pay a price" if they ruled contrary to his preference on a case that could affect states' ability to restrict abortion doctors, he wasn't just running at the mouth.

Specifically, Schumer said: "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."

Chief Justice John Roberts, whose 2019 year-end report delivered a jeremiad against "mob violence," schooled Schumer with a statement that noted, "threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous."

From the no-drama Roberts, those were fighting words.

Wednesday's response from Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman counterpunched Roberts in Trumpian style.

 

Goodman claimed that Schumer wasn't threatening the justices, but expounding on the "political price Senate Republicans will pay" for putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the big bench -- which is highly doubtful.

"For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing's deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices (Sonia) Sotomayor and (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes," Goodman said.

Goodman was mocking Roberts' assertion during his 2005 confirmation hearing that judges are like umpires. "It's my job to calls balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat," he had said. At the same time, the Schumer spokesman equated Schumer's threats to the justices to a February Trump tweet that asserted statements by Sotomayor and Ginsburg showed such bias that "both should recuse themselves" from Trump court cases.

Nice try. But what Schumer said is far worse than Trump's idiotic assertion that Sotomayor and Ginsburg recuse themselves, because that will never happen. Whereas it is highly likely that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and their families will be subjected to threats if they rule to curb abortions in Louisiana.

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