Sen. Schumer should make a real apology

  • 11 March 2020
  • NormanL

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer publicly threatened Supreme Court Justices Breat Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsush, saying, "I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, 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” on abortion.

It set off a storm of criticism, including from Chief Justice John Roberts, who said:

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.

Schumer eventually, and only sort of, walked back his charges. But as Walter Olson writes, the Senator should try again, because trashing judges needs to stop:

The wider picture, it might be noted, is one in which nasty swipes at judges have been routinized for years, from a range of public figures and also from former President Barack Obama, both in his 2010 State of the Union speech and also repeatedly during the court review of ObamaCare. Still, none of these have gone as far to suggest personal threat as did Schumer — not even the extraordinarily inappropriate amicus brief filed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and four other Senate Democrats last August, assailing the Court’s legitimacy and warning that “restructuring” at the hands of political branches lies ahead if it does not mend its ways.

By Thursday, Schumer had revised and extended his remarks, asserting that he “should not have used the words I used. …in no way was I making a threat.” He suggested that he had meant only to call the Justices’ attention to the prospect of damage to their political authority and standing in public opinion. He did not apologize, however, either for the original remarks or for his attacks on the good faith of Roberts and others.

Olson says there's "still time" for people of good will and intention "to rally behind the principles of an independent judiciary." As they should -- because an independent judiciary is a key element for protecting individual liberty.