A simple “I regret my poor decision to threaten two Supreme Court justices” would have worked fine here, but eh.
NEW stmt from Schumer spox: “For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen Schumer said, while remaining silent when Pres Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor & Ginsberg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.” pic.twitter.com/9908ZAeNkz
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) March 4, 2020
Let’s go in order. Schumer’s comments earlier weren’t a reference to “the political price Senate Republicans will pay” for confirming Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. It’s insulting to our collective intelligence for him to claim that it was. He couldn’t have been clearer that he was addressing the justices directly, not Republicans.
Did Senate Democrat leader Schumer just threaten two conservative justices? Where is the media?
“I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price”pic.twitter.com/MellytNNp5
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) March 4, 2020
“You, Gorsuch!” “You, Kavanaugh!” Do we have two dudes in the Senate named Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that I don’t know about?
There’s no better evidence of how badly he messed up than that his own spokesman is forced to resort to a blatantly untrue interpretation of what happened to find some sort of not-terrible spin for it.
“You won’t know what hit you” also makes no sense except as a threat when aimed at a Supreme Court justice. What do Gorsuch and Kavanaugh care if they unleash a “major grassroots movement” in favor of abortion? They’re life-tenured. They’re not going to be voted out. There’s no “price” to pay, unless Schumer means stringing them up. If he’s talking about a political “price,” the worst-case scenario is that Democrats ride the backlash against pro-life decisions to total control of government, appoint a bunch of liberals to fill Court vacancies, and we end up with a constitutional regime in which abortion on demand is legal at every stage of pregnancy. Which is what we, um, have now.
“Roberts does not call balls and strikes”? Well, he’s called out Trump before for criticizing federal judges who’ve ruled against him, and Trump was far more genteel in those cases than Schumer’s “you will pay the price” garbage today. Trump critics frequently ask “What if Obama did it?” to point out righty hypocrisy about some misdeed that Trump’s committed, but today we can play “What if Trump did it?” about Schumer’s comments. What if Trump dropped a “you won’t know what hit you” on the Notorious RBG? We’d be in for days of whither our norms? coverage.
And that coverage would be justified.
Schumer’s threat to the Court that “you will pay the price” is a direct attack on the integrity of our courts. I criticized Trump for his reckless comments about the courts. Where is the chorus of condemnation of Schumer? Schumer sounded more like a stalker than a statesman.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 4, 2020
I agree with Ed that Schumer’s threat is an empty one. The man is a putzhead, as Al D’Amato once famously said, and the left is never more feral and bloodthirsty than when abortion is involved but I doubt he seriously meant to propose physical harm. He probably got caught up in the moment — standing in front of the Court, whipping up a crowd about the cherished right of infanticide that’s not actually enshrined in the Constitution, still a little high from last night’s establishment demolition of Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. He may have been reaching for a rhetorical flourish to express that the left will rally if Roe is overturned. “You’ll hear from us at the polls!” became “You will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you!” because, well, that’s what happens when a putzhead tries to orate.
But “he probably didn’t mean it” wouldn’t get Trump off the hook for saying something like this, so why should it get Schumer off? Let him wear it every time the Democrats lecture about norms going forward. Especially if he won’t forthrightly apologize.