Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare rebuke Wednesday in reaction to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's remarks about the court while the justices were hearing a case about abortion rights, NBC News reports. During a rally in front of the Supreme Court building, Schumer said President Trump’s court appointees—Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—“won't know what hit” them if they vote to uphold abortion restrictions. “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” he said. At the time, the justices were hearing a challenge to a Louisiana law that forces abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
Roberts said while Supreme Court justices should not be immune to “criticism,” Schumer’s “threatening statements” were “inappropriate” and “dangerous”—especially since they come from the “highest levels of government.” “All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter,” he wrote. In a Wednesday tweet, President Trump said the comments were a “direct & dangerous threat to the U.S. Supreme Court.” “If a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested, or impeached. Serious action MUST be taken NOW!” he wrote.
A spokesman for Schumer said the senator was only referring to the political price Republicans would pay for putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the court. The spokesman added that Schumer’s remarks were a “warning that the justices will unleash major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”