Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer took a more remorseful tone over his incendiary comments about Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that drew a rare rebuke from Chief Justice Roberts.
Schumer said “”I shouldn’t have used the words I used yesterday…They did not come out the way there were intended to.””
However, Schumer did not explicitly apologize or say “i’m sorry” to either conservative justice.
Jonathan Turley tweeted “Schumer’s “apology” sounds more like a diminished capacity defense: his anger over injustice led to threatening two sitting justices. So would this be the same defense recognized for Trump in his anger over immigration and other rulings?”
Schumer's "apology" sounds more like a diminished capacity defense: his anger over injustice led to threatening two sitting justices. So would this be the same defense recognized for Trump in his anger over immigration and other rulings? . . .
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 5, 2020
Schumer’s comments even drew some criticism from the left along with widespread condemnation from conservatives.
Liberal professor Laurence Tribe wrote “These remarks by @SenSchumer were inexcusable. Chief Justice Roberts was right to call him on his comments. I hope the Senator, whom I’ve long admired and consider a friend, apologizes and takes back his implicit threat. It’s beneath him and his office.”
These remarks by @SenSchumer were inexcusable. Chief Justice Roberts was right to call him on his comments. I hope the Senator, whom I’ve long admired and consider a friend, apologizes and takes back his implicit threat. It’s beneath him and his office. https://t.co/xbNnUeznRR
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 4, 2020
Times Union reports Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer declined to apologize Thursday for his remarks this week at an abortion rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, although his incendiary comments drew a rare rebuke from the chief justice and immediate outcry from Republicans.
On Wednesday, Schumer, D-N.Y., said President Donald Trump’s court appointees, justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, “won’t know what hit them” if they rule in favor of abortion restrictions in a case before the nation’s highest court.
“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.”You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Republican senators on Thursday demanded that Schumer apologize. Trump tweeted Thursday that Schumer “brought great danger” to the court.
Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Schumer said he should not have used the words he did and sought to walk back his comments, contending they were not directed at the two justices.
He claimed his remarks were aimed generally at Republicans that he said will suffer political consequences for their opposition to abortion access. He did not apologize, saying he was motivated by his “anger” regarding abortion limitations on behalf of women.
“I shouldn’t have used the words I used yesterday,” Schumer said. “They did not come out the way there were intended to.”
Chief Justice John Roberts issued an unusual public statement about Schumer’s comments late Wednesday.
“Threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous,” he said. “All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever corner.”
The court was hearing a case Wednesday that challenged a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. A large group of activists rallied outside the court voicing their support for abortion access as justices heard the case. Schumer addressed those activists.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Schumer to apologize on the Senate floor Thursday morning.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Schumer’s comments “dangerous and disturbing” and “astonishingly reckless.”
“There is nothing to call this except a threat and there is absolutely no question to whom it was directed,” McConnell said. “He very, very clearly was not addressing Republican lawmakers or anyone else.”