Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday tore into Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for threatening Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, calling his remarks “unhinged” and “shameful.”
“I fully anticipate our colleague would quickly withdraw his comments and apologize,” McConnell began in a pointed Senate floor speech. “Instead our colleague doubled down. He tried to gaslight the entire country and stated that he was actually threatening fellow Senators as though that would be much better.”
“The distinguished men and women of the Supreme Court do not and must not serve at the pleasure of angry partisans,” he continued. “They do not need to pay any mind to unhinged threats, as shameful as they may be.”
McConnell criticizes Schumer over remarks about two Supreme Court justices.
"I would suggest that my Democratic colleagues spend less time trying to threaten impartial judges, and more time coming up with ideas that are actually constitutional." https://t.co/wshNgPTo7G pic.twitter.com/rmR37XXnEG
— ABC News (@ABC) March 5, 2020
“I would suggest that my Democratic colleagues spend less time trying to threaten impartial judges, and more time coming up with ideas that are actually constitutional,” he added.
During a Wednesday afternoon rally, Schumer stated in a speech near the Supreme Court that the two conservatives judges will “pay the price” if they vote against pro-choice advocates in a case regarding a Louisiana abortion law.
“Over the last three years, women’s reproductive rights have come under attack in a way we haven’t seen in modern history. From Louisiana, to Missouri, to Texas, Republican legislatures are waging a war on women, all women, and they’re taking away fundamental rights,” warned Schumer. “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.”
The remarks drew blowback from President Donald Trump, who demanded that Schumer be immediately punished.
“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!” the president tweeted.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare rebuke of Schumer’s comments, describing them as “inappropriate” and “dangerous,” especially from a congressional leader. “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,” said Roberts.
Meanwhile, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has announced plans to introduce a motion to censure Schumer on Thursday.
“Now @chuckschumer is threatening Supreme Court Justices personally, to the point of implying their physical safety is endangered. Disgusting, shameful, and frankly, WEAK,” Hawley wrote on social media Wednesday. “I would call on Schumer to apologize, but we all know he has no shame. So tomorrow I will introduce a motion to censure Schumer for his pathetic attempt at intimidation of #SupremeCourt.”
McConnell did not say in his speech whether he will support the motion.