Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appeared at a rally before a Supreme Court case on abortion rights and made the following statement in the course of his remarks: ” I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price. ”
The Senate Minority Leader, the second most powerful Democrat in America right now, threatened two Supreme Court Justices if they didn’t rule the way they wanted. Schumer is not going to do anything to Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, but might some unstable abortion rights zealots take this as an invitation to harass these men and their families or even do harm to them? Certainly.
That’s why Chief Justice John Roberts called Schumer on his words. Schumer responded by falsely accusing the Chief Justice of turning a blind eye to President Trump’s abuse of the judiciary. While Roberts has ignored President Trump’s suggestion that Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor recuse themselves from Trump-related cases, that’s not on the same level as telling an angry mob that Supreme Court Justices are going to pay a price. In addition, Roberts called out Trump’s abuse of judges and his attempt to define them as “Obama Judges” in denigrating their decisions. Roberts has called both sides in protecting the Independence of the Judiciary.
One day after his statements, the Senate Minority Leader did a slight walkback. He didn’t apologize to the Chief Justice whose integrity he impugned, nor to the two Justices whose safety he put at risk. He did say he shouldn’t have said that but added, ” I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language.”
I wonder how much of President Trump’s statements Democrats overlook because, after all, he’s from Queens. Schumer’s statements are unacceptable. Yet, there are many #NeverTrumpers who are stuck on the political binary who insist we need to give the Democrats control of the Senate and make this man the next Majority leader because of the importance of democratic norms.
To be clear, the Republican Impeachment Trial was a disgrace, from their coordination with the White House to their refusal to hear the witnesses. Yet, we’re kidding ourselves if we believe the Democrats are the principled defenders of democratic norms and therefore deserve our votes. The Democrats are about what’s in their political interest.
If we want to vote for a party that believes in our constitution and defends constitutional norms faithfully, we’re going to have to build it ourselves. Voting for either a Republican or a Democratic challenger is replacing unfaithful politicians with unfaithful politicians.