Rep. Andy Biggs(R-AZ) introduced a resolution Thursday to condemn Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recent remarks towards U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would “pay the price.”
“Threats towards any elected or appointed member of the three branches of our constitutional government are wrong and cannot be tolerated. Minority Leader Schumer is the leader of his conference, and, while he may offer public criticism about decisions with which he disagrees, he should not use rhetoric that is threatening and intimidating towards members of our independent judiciary” Biggs said in a statement. “Even after he was called out by many of his own colleagues and the Chief Justice, Leader Schumer would not apologize for his threats. I am introducing this resolution today to send a message that this threatening rhetoric has no place in the U.S. Congress – especially from a leader of one of our parties. I hope my colleagues will join me on this resolution.”
I introduced today’s resolution to condemn Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer because his threatening rhetoric has NO place in the U.S. Congress – especially from a leader of one of our parties.
I hope my colleagues will join me on this resolution. pic.twitter.com/pA2zU5BEQv
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 5, 2020
On Wednesday, Sen. Schumer spoke at an abortion rights rally outside the Supreme Court as the justices were hearing arguments over whether a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is constitutional. In his remarks, the Democratic leader warned that the two Trump-appointed conservative justices would “pay the price” for “awful decisions” if they vote to approve a Louisiana abortion law.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said at the rally. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Bigg’s measure points out Sen. Schumer comments are in “direct conflict with the Constitutional process by which cases are deliberated and verdicts are issued by the U.S. Supreme Court” and as a minority leader of the Senate, he is “held to a higher standard.”
It also cites the 2017 shootings of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in 2011 as “have already been victims of physical violence rooted in political disagreement.”
The resolution calls on Schumer to issue a formal apology to both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh for “making threats and sowing seeds of discord” and releasing a public statement “that threats towards members of any of our three branches of government are not an appropriate reaction for anyone — especially those in elected office — to express disagreement with any duly elected or appointed member of the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial Branch.”
Republican lawmakers fiercely criticized Schumer’s remarks, calling it a threat. On Twitter, President Trump called Schumer’s comments a “direct & dangerous threat” while adding, “If a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested, or impeached. Serious action MUST be taken NOW!”
Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare public rebuke statement Wednesday afternoon calling Schumer’s remarks “dangerous.”
“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,” Roberts said in a statement. “All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
A spokesman for Schumer said the comments were a “warning” that will “unleash a major grassroots movement” and that Roberts and Republican leaders were deliberately misinterpreting them.
“Women’s health care rights are at stake and Americans from every corner of the country are in anguish about what the court might do to them,” Justin Goodman said in a statement. “Sen. Schumer’s comments were a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”
“For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said, while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices [Sonia] Sotomayor and [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes,” Goodman added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced Schumer on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“The minority leader of the United States threatened two associate justices of the U.S. Supreme Court by name, period. There’s no other way to interpret that,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “A Senate leader appearing to threaten or incite violence on the steps of the Supreme Court could literally be a matter of deadly seriousness. So I fully anticipate our colleague would quickly withdraw his comments and apologize. … Instead, our colleague doubled down. Doubled down,”
Schumer on Thursday walked those words back, saying he should not have used them before accusing Republicans of mischaracterizing the remarks as a physical threat.
“I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never, never would do such a thing,” Schumer said in remarks from the Senate floor. “ And leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that. They did not come out the way I intended to. My point was that there would be political consequences, political consequences for President Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court stripped away a women’s right to choose.”