(USA Features) Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized President Donald Trump in February for attacking a federal judge, though he appeared to threaten a pair of Supreme Court justices just this week.
During a rally on Tuesday on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., Schumer told a rally of abortion supporters that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would “pay the price” if they decided to uphold a Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to be credentialed at local hospitals.
“You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” he said, singling the two justices out.
Many read that as a threat, considering justices — like federal judges — serve life terms unless impeached by Congress, which never happens.
Yet in February on the floor of the Senate, Schumer implored Chief Justice John Roberts to rebuke the president and “defend the independence of this federal judge” after Trump, on Twitter, complained about U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson over the sentencing of ally Roger Stone, Fox News reported.
“To not speak up now, when in the middle of this brouhaha, a judge is being attacked by the president before she makes a sentencing decision, that’s when we really need the chief justice to speak up,” Schumer said at the time.
“So now would be the time for Chief Justice Roberts to speak up. Now would be the time for the chief justice to directly and specifically defend the independence of this federal judge. I hope he will see fit to do that and to do it today,” he added.
Roberts, who has rebuked the president in the past for claiming that judges are partisan, did not do so last month.
He did, however, issue a statement rebuking Schumer for his comments.
“This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside,” Roberts said in a written statement Wednesday. “Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that ‘You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.'”
“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,” he added.
Schumer’s office claimed he wasn’t singling out justices but rather talking about Republicans.