Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, speaks in the Senate about Schumer’s shout down of Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court picks.
Chuck Schumer’s statements were made during a rally put on by the Center for Reproductive Rights in front of the Supreme Court on March 3, 2020. The rally was protesting conservative judges in regards to the U.S. Supreme Court’s look at the challenge to a 2014 state law in Louisiana that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital for the safety of those receiving an abortion. If the Louisiana law is allowed to go into effect, doctors who terminate pregnancies would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. This law could help prevent unscrupulous doctors from performing abortions and could save lives when an abortion patients needs life saving hospital services or when a baby survives a botched abortion and needs life saving services at a hospital.
Transcript of Senator Chuck Grassley’s Comments
Senator Chuck Grassley: President.
Madam President: Senator From Iowa.
Senator Chuck Grassley: I’d like to speak in morning business for one minute.
Madam President: Without objection.
Senator Chuck Grassley: An independent Judiciary is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. Judges serve lifetime appointments, free from political pressure, so that they can render impartial judgment without fear of retribution. Yesterday, unfortunately, our country took a step in the wrong direction with the Democratic leaders comments. At a microphone in front of the Supreme Court the Democratic leader harangued and warned Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh by name. He said they would quote pay a price and quote again won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions end quote. At best it was an injection of partisan politics into the process that should be immune to these Justices. At worse it was a threat, targeting to sitting members of the Supreme Court. Now, either way, I encourage my colleague, the Democratic leader, to apologize to those Supreme Court Justices and to do it here on the floor, end of quote.
Transcript of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Comments
Senator Mitch McConnell: Madam President.
Madam President: Majority Leader
Senator Mitch McConnell: I’d planned my remarks today discussing our bipartisan bicameral agreement to fund the fight against the new Coronavirus. I was looking forward to congratulating all my colleagues and discussing all the important ways this funding will help our public health experts, front line healthcare professionals, and state local officials combat the spread of this virus and mitigate its effects. It’s a serious agreement to meet a serious challenge, and today we will send it to President Trump’s desk. So today will be an important day for the country, and it was going to be a proud day for the Senate, but instead the nation’s laws are on this body for an entirely different reason.
A few weeks ago I spoke on the floor about a dangerous trend that threatens our self-government. I find how some of the democratic party appear more interested in attacking the institutions of our government then and working within them, how Democrats increasingly respond to political disappointments with extreme claims that our system of government itself must be broken. The failure can’t be their own. It can’t be their arguments or ideas. No, no, the fault must lie with the Constitution itself. Democrats are trying to cloak their anger at President Trump and rhetoric about protecting norms and institutions. But in reality, it is our own side of the aisle where anti-institutionalism is rampant, rampant. We can talk about attacks on the office of the presidency, on the Electoral College, on the First Amendment, on the Senate itself, but most striking of all, have been the shameless effort to bully our nation’s independent judiciary. And yesterday those efforts took a dangerous and disturbing turn. By now many already know what the Democratic leader shouted outside the Supreme Court yesterday morning. I’m sorry to have to read it into the record. First he prompted a crowd of left-wing activist to boo two of the associate justices as though those Supreme Court Justices were professional athletes, and Senator Schumer were geering from the stands. And then the senior senator from New York said this, I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you’ve release the whirlwind and you, you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you’re going forward with these awful decisions end quote.
Madam President, I’m not sure where to start. There is nothing to call this except a threat. And there’s absolutely no question to whom, to whom it was directed. Contrary to what the Democratic leader has since tried to claim, he very, very clearly was not addressing Republican lawmakers or anyone else. He literally directed the statement to the justices, by name, and he said quote, if you go hold of these awful decisions, which could only apply to the court itself. The minority leader of the United States Senate threatened two associate justices of the US Supreme Court, period. There’s no other way to interpret that. Even worse the threat was not clearly political or institutional. As I’ll discuss in a moment, these kinds of threats are sadly nothing new from Senate Democrats. This was much broader, much broader. The Democratic leader traveled to the workplace of the two judges, and in front of a crowd of activist, he told the judges, you will pay the price, right in front of the Supreme Court building, and you won’t know what hit you, he said, right in front of the Supreme Court Building.
If any American had these word shouted at them from a sidewalk outside their office they would hear those threats as personal, and most likely they would hear them as threatening, or inciting violence. That’s all any American would interpret those words if they were directed at us. And that’s certainly how the press and leading Democrats would have characterized them if President Trump or any senior Republican had said anything remotely, remotely similar. We’ve seen much more hay made out of much less. Perhaps our colleagues thinks this is absurd. Perhaps he would like the most generous possible interpretation, that he got carried away, that he didn’t mean what he said. But if he can not even admit to saying what he said, we certainly cannot know what he meant. At the very best his comments were astonishingly, astonishingly reckless and completely irresponsible and clearly, as the Chief Justice stated in a rare and extraordinary rebuke, they were quote dangerous end quote, because no matter the intention words carrying the apparent threat of violence going to have a horrific unintended consequences.450151851-Chief-Justice-Roberts-response-to-Schumer-remarks
In the most recent year on record, Madam President, the United States Marshal Service tracked thousands of threats and inappropriate communications against the Judiciary, thousands of threats against the Judiciary. Less than three years ago, of course, an unhinge and unstable left-wing activist attempted of mass murder of congressional Republicans at a baseball field right across the river. 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 anticipated our colleague would quickly withdraw his comments and apologize, that’s what even reliably liberal legal experts like Laurence Tribe and Neal Katyal have publicly urged. Instead our colleague double down, double down. He tried to gaslight the entire country and stated that he was actually threatening fellow Senators, as though that would be much better. But that’s the fiction. And then a few hours later the Democratic leader tripled down. Instead of taking Chief Justice Roberts sober and appropriate statement to heart, he lashed out yet again, and tried to imply that the Chief Justice was biased, biased, for doing his job and defending the Court. Let me say that again. He triple down and he lashed out yet again and tried to imply the Chief Justice was biased for doing his job and defending the Court.
Our colleague therefore succeeded in attacking 33% of the Supreme Court in a space of a few hours. Throughout the impeachment and the Senate trial for months, Washington Democrats preach sermons about the separation of powers and respect among equal branches. So much for all of that. And sadly, this attack was not some isolated incident. The left-wing campaign against the federal Judiciary did not begin yesterday, not yesterday. My colleagues will recall that during the impeachment trial the senior senator from Massachusetts and outside pressure groups tried to attack the Chief Justice sitting right in that chair for staying neutral instead of delivering the outcomes they wanted. These same groups came to Senator Schumer’s defense yesterday with gratuitous attacks against the Chief Justice for condemning the threats against his colleagues.
And last summer, last summer, a number of Senate Democrats sent an extraordinary brief to the Supreme Court. It threatened to inflict institutional change on the court if it did not rule the way the Democrats wanted. In other words give us the ruling we want or we’ll change the number of the Court. Here’s what they wrote. The Supreme Court is not well. Really, the Supreme Court is not well, perhaps the court can heal itself before the public demands it be restructured. Now what that means is you rule the way we want or we’re going to expand the numbers and change the outcome. A political threat, plain as day. As you read the document, you have expected it to end by say, that some nice judicial Independence you got over there. iIt’d be a shame if something happened to it. It couldn’t have been more clear.
Independence from political passions is the cornerstone of our judiciary in our country. Judicial Independence is what enables courts to do justice even when it is unpopular to protect constitutional rights even when powerful interest want them infringed. Judicial independence, Madam President, is what makes the United States of America a republic of laws rather than of men. It’s been almost a century since the last time Democrats threaten to pack the Supreme Court because they want a different rulings. History still judges that disgraceful episode to this day. So I would suggest that my Democratic colleagues spend less time trying to threaten impartial judges and more time coming up with ideas that are actually constitutional. Fortunately this extraordinary display contains one ironic silver lining. These clumsy efforts to erode a pillar of American governance have just reminded everyone why that pillar is so crucial.
These efforts to a attack judicial independence reminds us that Independence is essential. Every time Democrat try to threaten sitting judges, we are reminded exactly, exactly why the framers gave them life tenure and salary protection, precisely why they did. Every time Democrats toy with packing new seats on the court, we’re reminded exactly why, as Justice Ginsburg, Justice Ginsburg recently said, nine seems to be a good number. Justice Ginsburg said, nine seems to be a good number. To distinguished men and women of the Supreme Court do not, and must not, serve at the pleasure of angry partisans. Must not serve at the pleasure of angry partisans. They do not need to pay any mind to unhinged threats as shameful as they may be. In fact as the Chief Justice reminded us yesterday, they are duty-bound to pay such things no attention at all. Their job description is simple, to apply the law to the facts, as a chief justice put it, without fear or favor from whatever quarter.
I have great confidence the court will do just that. I’m confident that if the facts and the Constitution would have led the court to disappoint the Democrats yesterday, they will still feel free to do so today and tomorrow and beyond, notwithstanding, these shameful tactics. Now I had hoped I would not need to reiterate what every Republican Senator told the court in August after Senate Democrats sent they’re threatening brief, but today I have no choice but to say it again. Republicans are absolutely and unshakably committed to the core constitutional principle of an independent Federal judiciary, the core constitutional principle of an independent Federal Judiciary. As long as this majority holds the gavel, we will never let the minority leaders dangerous views become policy. This majority will ensure the only casualties of this recklessness are the reputations of those who engage on it.