Chief Justice John Roberts Denounces Chuck Schumer’s ‘Threatening’ Remarks About Gorsuch and Kavanaugh

Yves here. When Alternet and a sane conservative like Jonathan Turley agree on something, you know it’s a real issue. Chuck Schumer grandstanding about Roe v. Wade on the Supreme Court steps wasn’t just a stunt:

Some key issues about abortion keep being ignored. In every other advanced economy that has legalized abortions, the right is enshrined in legislation, not subject to the vagaries of legal interpretation. The price of doing it that way means making some compromises to with the right to life types, and they’ve typically meant limiting abortions in all but cases where the mother’s life is threatened to the first trimester. Feminists could have gotten this done during Peak Womens Lib, in the early-mid 1970s, but put all their political chips on trying to get an Equal Rights Amendment. And back then, evangelicals weren’t much of a political force.

In addition, it rarely goes mentioned that in the heartlands, the right to abortion is close to non-existent for the lower middle class and poor due to cost, scarcity of clinics, and the inability to take time off from work.

By Cody Fenwick. Originally published at Alternet

Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare statement on Wednesday denouncing “dangerous” remarks made earlier in the day by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Schumer held a rally outside the Supreme Court on the day it held oral arguments in a case that could prove pivotal in the fight of abortion rights in the United States. At one point, he called out the two justices who were appointed by President Donald Trump and issued a threat.

“They’re taking away fundamental rights,” Schumer said. “I want to tell you, [Justice Neil] Gorsuch! I want to tell you, [Justice Brett] 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!”

Watch the clip below:

In response, Roberts denounced the minority leader’s attacks in an evening statement:

This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside. Senator Schurner 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 arc not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.

Such direct responses to a politician’s comments from the chief justice are exceedingly rare. Roberts, in particular, is deeply committed to keeping the court above the political fray as much as possible. One exception to this pattern was his rebuke in 2018 of Trump’s remarks about “Obama judges.”

As he was then, Roberts was absolutely correct to now to call out Schumer. Justices are not meant to be held accountable for their rulings to the public in the way legislators and presidents are for their policies; they are only subject to impeachment as a check on their power. So there’s no plausible excuse for Schumer’s threat, and Roberts was right to call it “dangerous.” If, as many fear, the conservatives on the Supreme Court do impose their views on the country beyond what is thought to be acceptable, there could be legitimate avenues for checking the justices’ power. These include passing constitutional amendments or even, potentially, changing the size of the court or passing a rule mandating a retirement age. But while these reforms might be warranted, they should not be considered making Kavanaugh and Gorsuch “pay a price.”

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69 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Its a true sign of political derangement when politicians start attacking judges in this way. Not that judges should be beyond criticism, but there are limits, and he clearly crossed one.

    Yves is quite right about the huge dangers of relying on judicial activism for social measures. Its not often Ireland gets these things right, it took a few decades, but in setting up a Citizens Assembly to discuss abortion in a non-judgemental way they were able to come up with a constitutional amendment that satisfied all but the most fundamental anti-abortionists (and a few feminists, but they had the good sense to keep quiet about it). The result was general consensus on the right way forward and a firm constitutional context for the law to work within.

    Reply
    1. Clive

      Yes indeed, this view has a lot of support and a lot of both jurisprudential and political logic behind it. U.K. Supreme Court Justice Sumption expounded on the ability, but also the pitfalls, of judicial activism where it attempts to invoke social reform. However ardently the social reformers are over their chosen cause, if they can’t take The People with them — and a Citizens’ Assembly is a very valid way of engaging with The People and, just as importantly, getting The People to engage with the process — then such lawfare will never result in the matter being truly settled.

      I’d suggest anyone interested in these concepts to review all of Sumption’s lectures (there’s plenty I agree with but also plenty I don’t — but they are never less than masterful thought-provokers).

      Also, Judicial Law Review also provided an excellent critique and covered the same points you made. To whit:

      While my analysis of our present troubles differs from Sumption’s, I admire his exposition of the virtues of representative politics. The balance of his lecture considers the rise of law and elucidates “the limits of what law can achieve in controlling majorities, and the price to be paid if it tries too hard”. In adjudicating disputes fairly and in accordance with settled law, courts help uphold the rule of law and instantiate reciprocity between rulers and ruled. This does not involve or require authority to override government policy or Parliament’s lawmaking choices. However, Sumption notes that in the last thirty years courts have increasingly deployed “a broader concept of the rule of law which greatly enlarges their constitutional role”. They have asserted “a wider supervisory authority over other organs of the state” and “have inched their way towards a notion of fundamental law overriding ordinary processes of political decision-making” which has “carried them into the realms of legislative and ministerial policy.” This is a claim to political power.

      Only, in my view, can a Citizens’ Assembly or similar structure be the true source of the requisite political power which is needed to resolve this, and similarly vexed, issues.

      Reply
    2. Buckeye

      Plutonium, you and Clive (and many others here) are not Americans. I am. I have seen and heard the right-wing attack and smear local and state judges for 40 years now. And Federal judges have targeted by conservatives since the late 90’s. “Judicial Watch” and other conservatives have put gun crosshairs up against “leftist” judges’ photos.

      And the courts are not some holy institution. You may not like Schumer, but the sentiment is just “right-back-at-you, conservatives!”. A sentiment that grassroots Americans had in colonial times when they forcibly removed corrupt Crown-appointed judges who had been put in place to oppress the average citizen in the name of the aristocracy.

      Reply
      1. Old Jake

        This makes me wonder if judges are elected in places other than the US. I grew up on the east coast of the US, in a state where all judges are appointed using a process similar to the US Federal judiciary – nominated from what is usually a slate deemed eligible by the ABA, then approved by the legislature. I moved west and was dismayed to find that all judges are elected for fixed terms. I believe this politicizes them and degrades the judicial process.

        What other countries elect judges?

        Reply
        1. Buckeye

          From what I remember from college, only 2 or 3 countries elect judges. Switzerland elects local court judges. American prosecutors (or “persecutors” as I call them) are also usually elected.

          Appointment depends on who is doing the appointing. A neutral board of lawyers from the Bar Association might be fine, but in past and present America many appointments are done by political action committees; especially Federal judges. Of course you have “Judge” Roy Bean down in Texas who had no law license other than a six-gun, who appointed himself judge-and he was a criminal.

          Do you know Supreme Court Justices are NOT required to have a law degree?

          The American court system has been corrupt, political, and oppressive from day one. It bears only VERY superficial resemblance to modern European courts. Our courts are actually more like the elitist, aristocratic courts of 1600’s-1700’s England. That’s the point I was trying to make to PlutoniumKun. I was not trying to be insulting.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            No offence taken ;-)

            I can certainly believe the an elected judiciary is far more political than our (PlutoniumKun’s and mine) appointed judiciary.

            So it would be wrong to claim I can understand an American’s sensibilities with regards to the lamentable state of the US bench in the courts. You guys live it on the ground so you’re the experts — and I bow to your first-hand experience.

            It’s just that, however bad the judiciary is, and I can quite believe it is very, very bad, taking social reform through the courts to resolve doesn’t seem to me to ever set anything up for a persistent state of contentment on whatever issue is in play. Political problems need political solutions. Just because politics is broken, it doesn’t seem to me that making it a judicial matter is any sort of fix.

            However, it’s easy for me to say that, sitting here, not having to sit there with the consequences.

            Reply
        2. rosemerry

          I, too, find this process very partisan and highly unlikely to lead to fair appointments, allowing many miscarriages of justice just because of the huge differences in outlook of the elected judges and their electorates. How many people actually vote? In general elections in the USA the participation is not high-what about for judges?

          Reply
      2. Titus

        Agreed. This isn’t religion. Called free speech particularly agaisnt the government- courts included. Any judge is free to resign. And I wish several would. Yes, actions do have consequences.

        Reply
    3. clarky90

      Schumer, “You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!…” is paraphrasing The Book of Hosea (Hebrew: ספר הושע‎ Sefer Hōšēaʿ) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. … 760–720 BCE, it is one of the oldest books of the Hebrew Bible, predating most of the Torah

      Israel to Reap the Whirlwind

      “1. Put the trumpet to your lips!
      An eagle is over the house of the Lord
      because the people have broken my covenant
      and rebelled against my law.

      2. Israel cries out to me,
      ‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’

      3. But Israel has rejected what is good;
      an enemy will pursue him.

      4. They set up kings without my consent;
      they choose princes without my approval.
      With their silver and gold
      they make idols for themselves
      to their own destruction.

      5. Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!
      My anger burns against them.
      How long will they be incapable of purity?

      6. They are from Israel!
      This calf—a metalworker has made it;
      it is not God.
      It will be broken in pieces,
      that calf of Samaria.

      7. “They sow the wind
      and reap the whirlwind.

      The stalk has no head;
      it will produce no flour.
      Were it to yield grain,
      foreigners would swallow it up.

      8. Israel is swallowed up;
      now she is among the nations
      like something no one wants.

      9. For they have gone up to Assyria
      like a wild donkey wandering alone.
      Ephraim has sold herself to lovers……….

      Schumer is also referencing;

      “Journey into the Whirlwind”
      by Eugenia Ginzburg (Author)
      https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Whirlwind-Eugenia-Ginzburg/dp/0156027518

      “By the late 1930s, Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg (1896-1977) had been a loyal and very active member of the Communist Party for many years. Yet like the millions of others who suffered during Stalin’s reign of terror, she was arrested (on trumped-up charges of being a Trotskyist terrorist counter-revolutionary) and sentenced to prison. With an amazing eye for detail and profound strength and an indefatigable spirit, Ginzburg recounts the years, days, and minutes she endured in prisons and labor camps, including two years of solitary confinement…”

      and
      “Within the Whirlwind”
      by Eugenia Ginzburg (Author), Ian Boland (Translator)

      https://www.amazon.com/Within-Whirlwind-Eugenia-Ginzburg/dp/0156976498

      I highly recommend both of Ginsberg’s accounts.

      Reply
      1. EoH

        Or you could refer to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing for a similar use of “whirlwind.”

        Schumer’s grandstanding was beneath him and the Court. Much more damaging have been the unrelenting attacks on the Court, the courts, and individual judges by Donald Trump.

        Equally damaging has been Mitch McConnell’s crude politicization of the nomination and approval process, starting well before he spiked Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supremes. The laundry list of new federal district and appellate judges, drawn exclusively from the Federalist Society’s nomenklatura, including more than a few deemed “not qualified” by the normally reticent ABA, is a further assault.

        Chief Justice Roberts was correct to criticize Schumer. He is at fault in consistently failing to call out his own side for its years of abuse of his Court and the federal courts in general. That’s on Roberts.

        Reply
  2. teholder

    It should be noted that Schumer echoed Kavanaugh’s own words back to him from his confirmation hearing at which Kavanaugh suggested the sex assault charge against him was a conspiracy on behalf of the Clinton’s and the conspirators had “sown the wind” and would “reap the whirlwind.” Am I the only one who remembers the red-faced rant that was Kavanaugh’s opening statement?

    Gorsuch of course, is sitting in a stolen seat unless Mitch McConnell took a different oath from other Senators, one which goes, “I do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States unless it’s an election year …”

    Citizens are angry, including ones holding elected office.

    Reply
      1. tegnost

        yeah, when is the SC hearing the email server case? This looks to me like a way to make that ruling a political football.

        Reply
    1. QuarterBack

      Whenever I hear “Reap the whirlwind “, it reminds me of Biden saying those words in his 2002 Senate floor speech on the vote for the Gulf War.

      With Biden being a leading candidate for President, now would be a good time to revisit his speech in its entirety. In it, he goes into great detail about how he doubts the estimates of the true cost of the war and it’s aftermath to the U.S. and the region, spells out many bad scenarios that did later happen, and yet, he voted for it anyway. Classic political tactics to put on the record statements of extreme reservations, and repeating concerns of others in the party and electorate, and then take action in the opposite direction. He can then claim (and did) that he “had extreme concerns” and really didn’t want to vote for it, but he relied on faith in others who betrayed “us”. The quality desired most of politicians by oligarchs is their ability to play the “good cop” and convince the masses to acquiesce to objectionable actions against their interest. No wonder they are pulling all stops for Joe.

      I could not find a full version, but here is a c-span link of the first 56 minutes of his speech.
      https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4785956/user-clip-bidens-floor-speech-iraq-war&start=2447

      Reply
    2. SouthSideGT

      I believe former Daily Show host Jon Stewart said, “Please understand that a lot of what the right does, and it’s maybe their greatest genius, is they’ve created a code of conduct that they police, that they themselves don’t have to, in any way, abide,” Selah.

      Reply
  3. DanP66

    The problem as I see it is that liberals have learned that the fastest way to get what they want is to find a friendly court.

    They do not want to do the hard work of passing legislation by actually trying to convince people of their positions nor do they want to compromise. And honestly, they spend a lot of time vilifying anyone that disagrees with them and I have never seen that work as a means of persuasion.

    But just as all the fans of Obama’s executive orders learned, it can go as fast as it was created when power changes hands.

    Its hard work to get legislation passed. It takes listening to people with whom you disagree and compromising by taking their concerns into account.

    Reply
    1. Clive

      Yes, I too think lawfare is a Siren call, but it all-too-often lures those who pursue it onto the rocks of unconvinced public opinion.

      I do have a huge amount of understanding towards those who think that There Is No Alternative to lawfare, given the logjam and dysfunctionality in Washington (and London and pretty much everywhere else I look). But the correct fix to apply is improving the political environment.

      Not trying an end runaround of politics with a home run to the courts (and apologies to American football fans who I may have just made a terrible grating noise to with that metaphor because I know nothing at all about the terminologies of the game (!) but I’m hoping you get the gist anyway). That never resolves, in the long term, anything. The courts are not and never can truly be politics by another name.

      Reply
      1. Titus

        End around. One runs around the end of the line. A line is made of linesmen and tackles. (Some others but that’s the gist of it). Not necessarily a “break away”, but could be.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      liberals have learned that the fastest way to get what they want is to find a friendly court.

      Right. And don’t forget that abortion became a major wedge issue that helped give us Reagan and the right’s assault on the New Deal. Eventually it became a wedge issue for both sides and the Dem excuse for a candidate like Hillary would be “think of the courts.”

      Reply
    3. neo-realist

      Conservatives also don’t go for convincing people of their positions nor compromising on them. But at least they do the dirty work of getting their majorities and simply passing their legislation and confirming their federalist society anti civil rights, anti civil liberties John Birchers to the courts.

      The democratic establishment has nobody to blame but themselves for not seeking power like gangsters as the GOP does and getting their judges and the legislation they want.

      Reply
        1. neo-realist

          My criticism of the dem establishment is in no way support for crazy anti-abortion reactionaries (and a rather ridiculous point to make)–those murders would have happened even if dems had majorities–I’d criticize both parties for not giving abortion clinics federal para-military protection and not dramatically increasing sentencing for anti-roe violence.

          Reply
          1. sharonsj

            Most of the election rigging and voter suppression is done by Republicans. That’s the “dirty work” they do.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith Post author

              There is plenty done by Dems. You apparently don’t watch the shenanigans in states they own, like CA and NY. But they meddle more in primaries than the general election.

              2016 primary, not only were those 125K votes from Brooklyn disappeared, but tons of polling stations were changed at the last minute and some were removed. All in lower middle class/poor areas.

              Reply
              1. SouthSideGT

                ” You apparently don’t watch the shenanigans in states they own, like CA and NY. ” And Chicago. And Cook County. I don’t include Illinois because it is a subsidiary of Cook County. :)

                Reply
      1. Old Jake

        How much of that dirty work consisted of voter suppression and gerrymandering? Not that the ground was not fertile for such shenanigans, as it seems to me the movement sprouted in Reconstruction and the fabled “Southern Strategy.”

        Reply
    4. Ford Prefect

      Conservative groups have been mobilizing against abortion for decades and much of their judicial nomination strategy has been focused on this. Bernie Sanders couldn’t get young people out to vote for him: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/03/04/super-tuesday-bernie-sanders-youth-votes-fell-short-compared-2016/4947795002/

      I support a woman’s right to choose. But if they are not willing to put the effort out to go to vote, then they need to be prepared to live with the consequences. Elections have consequences. People sitting them out mean they allow other people to make the choices for them. There have been concerted efforts to restrict voting for minorities, but young white people generally have the same voting access as their parents and grandparents. If they choose not to vote, then they have decided to allow their parents and grandparents to speak for them.

      Reply
      1. HippoDave

        Your point regarding young people would be stronger if 70,000,000 of them weren’t legally barred from voting.

        Reply
    5. baldski

      I beg to disagree. The great majority of lawsuits brought into our courts are by Corporations. I would not classify a Corporation as “liberal”.

      Reply
  4. John

    There is no way judges should be appointed for life today. The system is just too corrupt.

    10 years and out (even that is probably too long).

    I don’t trust most of these judges to hand down decisions that actually serve up justice,
    they are bought and paid for, and on extreme ego trips in “their” courtroom.

    Reply
    1. km

      The problem (at least as regards the Supreme Court) is that this would require a constitutional amendment.

      Good luck with that.

      Article III courts are creatures of Congress.

      Reply
  5. Lee

    I’m so cynical that I cannot imagine any utterance of note from a prominent U.S. establishment politician as anything other than a a fear and outrage inducing pitch for donations. The great kerfuffle kaching machine at work.

    Reply
  6. a different chris

    The weak kitten Schumer finally shows his claws to do this? It was gross and unprofessional, and I wouldn’t eat in the same 5-star restaurant with Gorsuch and Kavanaugh if they were picking up the tab.

    Man does the Democratic Party need new leadership.

    Reply
  7. dearieme

    The original sin is presumably the unconstitutional invention of doctrine in Wade vs Roe. Abortion isn’t a federal matter it’s a matter for the states and the people – in other words for state legislators and voters.

    England & Wales and Scotland (but not Northern Ireland) effectively allow abortion on demand for the first 24 weeks. Thereafter availability is much more constrained. This compromise has in essence lasted more than sixty years without substantially splitting society or souring friendships. In that sense it’s a triumph of practical politics – a remarkable achievement given how disagreeable the topic is.

    Reply
    1. mpalomar

      It’s not at all clear that states have a legal right to presume on the privacy of citizens in such instances as medical procedures, particularly in light of the 14th amendment.

      Similar to England, Wales and Scotland in the US,“Until the late 19th century, abortion was legal … before “quickening,” the point at which a woman could first feel movements of the fetus, typically around the fourth month of pregnancy.” Because of 19th C drug safety regulation and the encroachment of proprietary commercial interests of the newly established AMA intent on eliminating competition from midwives and homeopaths and also WASP nativists worried about demographic shifts, abortion was open to reconsideration.

      That said Schumer, Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and the rest of the smarmy political class are indeed reaping the whirlwind of a degraded political system that Trump and his kayfabe rhetoric of intimidation are but a recent symptom. The ‘high’ court has demonstrated a warped and depraved prioritization that fetishizes a conjured and cryptic, savant version of originalism that just happens to consistently deprive poor and working class people of their welfare rights, women in this case.

      Reply
  8. NoBrick

    “…there’s no plausible excuse for Schumer’s threat.”
    “Excuse”, has nothing to do with his blather. Sales pitch seems more likely.
    Most cast members, of the theater on the hill, are also major share holders of
    the “WTF-meter recalibration services LLC”. My WTF-meter “broke”, as in stuck
    past 10, years and years ago. I took it in for a new dial that went to 15. It broke
    again and again. I’ve stopped taking it in after the “new” 360 sweep dial got stuck.
    Now, the actors/share holders are pitching a “new” digital WTF-meter.

    Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    Schumer did this outside the Supreme Court? Hmmmmm-

    “Demagogue”

    noun: demagogue; plural noun: demagogues

    A political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.

    e.g. “a gifted demagogue with particular skill in manipulating the press”

    Similar:
    rabble-rouser, political agitator, agitator, soapbox orator, firebrand, troublemaker, incendiary, tub-thumper

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I believe in abortion rights ( or any other kind of rights for that matter) for women, I think the founding fathers got it right that the Supreme Court justices serve for life, and I believe Rev Kev is spot on…

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        Which reminds me that Trump did the same thing in his demands for recusal of Sotomayor and Ginsberg, while balls and strikes partisan Roberts remained mute.

        Reply
    2. polecat

      Why is it, that when a SENATOR does it, it’s allowed .. with little to no repercussion .. but when you or I make similar attempts, we’re often harrassed, beaten, and/or jailed ??

      Funny that !

      Reply
  10. DJG

    A few thoughts related to the current Schumerial melodrama:
    –Schumer is bloviating, as usual. I recall that he threatened Trump with the FBI, too, something about six ways till Sunday.
    –The U.S. Supreme Court mainly protects property, which is why the members of the Court brought us such lunacy as the Dred Scott decision and the various attempts to overturn the New Deal.
    –Liberals have made the mistake of thinking that the courts will protect human and civil rights.
    –The cases related to Roe v Wade will be followed by similar attempts to limit equal marriage.
    –The U.S. Supreme Court is highly political. Its supposed disinterest simply doesn’t exist.

    Reply
  11. Michael Fiorillo

    One of the clearest examples of the long term strategic and historical cluelessness of liberals is their obsession with the Supreme Court, the least democratic of state actors, and one with a predominantly reactionary history. It’s no accident that the first 20th century legislation that permitted workers to flex their power, years before the NLRB, was the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which prohibited federal judges from issuing injunctions to stop strikes, which had been typical practice for decades.

    The Supreme Court of the New Deal and Earl Warren era were historical anomalies that are mistakenly viewed as the norm, a huge error, especially considering that Courts follow the political winds, not the other way around. If we want to “save” the Supreme and Federal Courts, the only way to do so is to change the terms of debate and recapture the legislature and executive branches from the Overclass and their professional/managerial/technical enablers.

    Until then, for Schumer and his ilk to be talking about the Supreme Court, especially while they simultaneously maneuver to insure Trump’s reelection with a Biden nomination, is just more kayfabe and misdirection.

    Reply
  12. Crane

    Lawfare ended formal segregation (we can have a long discussion about persistent informal segregation / structural racism or whatever, but last I checked minorities no longer need their own map of america telling them what hotels and restaurants they won’t get lynched at) and other things we take for granted today like being able to go to a store and buy condoms without being hassled by the state. Sadly yes it has its cons as well, like any avenue of pursuing lasting change. But it shouldn’t be written off out of hand like it appears some commenters are.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      And the Civil Rights Act had nothing to do with it? Also Brown vs Board of Education had a much more defensible legal basis. One reason Roe vs Wade was so controversial was that the justification struck many as a Constitutional stretch.

      Reply
      1. Crane

        Yes, the Civil Rights act had nothing to do with it because there already were MULTIPLE civil rights acts that was simply ignored and unenforced in the entire country. They could have passed 20 more and it would have meant nothing if it was clear courts would continue to fail to enforce them.

        Reply
  13. Sam Adams

    Politicians have attacked the Supreme Court since Washington. Jackson told the Supreme Court to pound salt over it’s Banking cases. The difference is the Supreme Court itself and its institutional understanding.
    The founders understood the concept of robed vestal virgins from their knowledge of roman history. They used that mythos to first seize constitutional authority of review and then maintain a religious styled authority by only commenting in written decisions from behind the curtain. Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are unable to establish the the mythic authority because they were overtly reactionary and political in their confirmations, speeches and written decisions.
    We have watched the Legislative and Executive branches implode. We are watching the Judicial Branch destroy itself. We are in the middle of a real structural constitutional crisis.

    Reply
  14. urblintz

    I have no sympathy for the 2 judges, but Schumer is a compete idiot. There’s an interview with Charlie Rose (oops) where Schumer starts ranting about how crazy it is that “some people” actually believe that it’s better for 10 guilty men to go free than for 1 innocent man to be convicted “Can you believe that?” he screamed… seemingly ignorant of the fact that this is the very premise of our jurisprudence.

    Schumer is not fit to serve in the boyscouts, much less the Senate…

    Reply
  15. Alternate Delegate

    I see from removed comments that it is not possible to talk about removing Supreme Court justices through constitutional means here.

    So I will hold my peace and watch.

    Reply
  16. dcblogger

    for years Schumer has let these right wing judges, not just Supreme Court, get confirmed, not making any serious opposition, and now when the worst is going to happen he wants to separate himself form it. He is a horrible senator and I can’t wait for AOC to challenge him.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      So instead of just looking like an idiot he looks like a weak idiot.

      Maybe he should pen a sternly worded letter to himself.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      A news cycle later, only after Roberts called him out, and lame. Headlines say he apologized, but all he said was “regrets, not “sorry” or “apologize” which to me is the minimum threshold for an actual apology.

      More important, he didn’t recant, just said he should have said it a little nicer:

      “I should not have used the words I used yesterday,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday morning…

      “My point was that there would be political consequences, political consequences, for President Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court, with the newly confirmed justices, stripped away a women’s right to choose. Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise,” he said.

      “I’m from Brooklyn,” Schumer added. “We speak in strong language, I shouldn’t have use the words i did, but in no way was i making a threat. I would never do such a thing.”

      https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/chief-justice-john-roberts-calls-sen-chuck-schumer/story?id=69396928

      Typos in original…

      Reply
  17. Titus

    “Justices are not meant to be held accountable for their rulings to the public in the way legislators and presidents are for their policies”. Ah, where’d you ever get that idea from. Sure they are, part of the reason they have life time appointments at the federal level. Feedback is a gift and one that keeps on giving. Jefferson really got the whole ‘feedback’ thing going during his terms in office and I dare say that no elected official(s) has come even close for his vitriol toward the courts and specifically judges and justices. One could easily make a case that at every turning point in American Democracy the Supremes have gotten it wrong. Slavery? Native American – genocide thereof, Sedition laws during WW1, Japanese Interment? It goes on and on. The federal courts have failed the American people over and over and do so to this day. Free speech if it means anything is the right to criticize government.

    Reply
    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, and Civil Rights-era court rulings followed after desegregation of professional baseball and the armed forces, which itself largely hinged on Cold War pressures.

      Prior to the Cold War, the federal government with few exceptions had been a validator and vehicle for Jim Crow; ideological competition with the Soviet Union made that increasingly untenable, thus the federal pivot toward supporting civil rights, starting in the late forties and continuing into the 1960’s.

      With all due respect to the heroic struggles and sacrifices of those who made up the Civil Rights movement, the deep tectonic movements of the Cold War are given insufficient credit for what is in many respects a historical anomaly, namely, federal recognition and support of the full humanity of people of color (incomplete and fragile as it is).

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  18. Tim

    “The price of doing it that way means making some compromises to with the right to life types, and they’ve typically meant limiting abortions in all but cases where the mother’s life is threatened to the first trimester.”

    This is close to a sane middle ground. from a non religious pro-life stand point I have. I swear to God I have memories of dreams when I was a very young boy that I can only associate with me being in my moms stomach. There is a certain point reached where the “lifeform” is not yet autonomous, but it does have consciousness, which is the point when I say wait a minute here, let’s err on the side of caution and respect that life’s intent to develop and survive.

    Roe vs. wade SCJs had detail discussions about these aspects (they referred to “the quickening” is what I recall), and made their ruling, but it would have been much better to have codified it at that time as Yves speaks of, than what we were left with for interpretation from such black and white points of view on a situation that clearly requires us to consider the grey area as the correct solution.

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  19. Oregoncharles

    Was Schumer not referring to impeachment? As a Senator, he can’t initiate it, but he does get to pass judgement once they’re impeached.

    I agree that his language was intemperate; it was obviously intended to be. Ultimately, this kind of thing – on both sides – is a useful reminder that Supreme Court judgements are, in reality, political, despite all pretense to the contrary.

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  20. MBLG

    This was Robert Reich’s take on it per the feed. I tend to agree with the 2nd paragraph.
    ———-
    Today Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for his heated remarks during a reproductive rights rally outside the Supreme Court. He characterized Schumer’s words as “threatening”, and warned that “statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous”.

    Where was Roberts when Trump demanded Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor recuse themselves from “Trump related matters”? Did he have anything to say when Trump insisted that Justice Ginsburg resign, attacked Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the Stone case, and threatened the entire 9th circuit court? He has no credibility.

    What do you think?

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  21. inode_buddha

    Maybe only tangentially related, but I’ve noticed how conservatives don’t talk about politicizing the Court until there’s a Dem nominee, then all of a sudden its a problem.
    .
    .
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    Hypocrites. With *zero* credibility, because of that.

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  22. Anon

    In addition, it rarely goes mentioned that in the heartlands, the right to abortion is close to non-existent for the lower middle class and poor due to cost, scarcity of clinics, and the inability to take time off from work.

    Aren’t these the so-called Red States? The ones that elect Mike Pence and Mike Huckaby as governors?
    In the words of GW Bush: “elections have consequences.”

    (In California, college students have access to RU-486 for free; dispersed by a campus nurse.)

    Reply
  23. baldski

    Why are the Supremes taking up an abortion case that eerily similar to a case that was settled 4 years ago? Could it be we have two new justices who are amenable to changing the decision?

    Reply

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