House Republican offers resolution condemning Schumer over Supreme Court remarks

House Republican offers resolution condemning Schumer over Supreme Court remarks
© Greg Nash

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced a resolution on Thursday to formally condemn Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBuild Back Better Is bad for the states  Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-N.Y.) over his remarks that two Supreme Court justices would “pay the price” for their decisions on an abortion rights case.

Schumer’s comments, made during a rally outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday before justices heard arguments over a Louisiana abortion law, sparked outrage from Republicans, who called the remarks a threat.

“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 to The Hill.  

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“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.”

The resolution argues Schumer should be held to a higher standard due to his position in leadership and says the 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 “do not contribute anything positive to the public dialogue.” 

“I want to tell you, Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch, you have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said on Wednesday during the rally. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Schumer on Thursday walked those words back, saying he should not have used them. He also accused Republicans of mischaracterizing the remarks as a physical threat.

"Now I should not have used the words I used yesterday," he said on the Senate floor. "They did not come out the way I intended to. My point was that there would be political consequences, political consequences for President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court ... stripped away a women's right to choose."

Republicans, though, have seized on the remarks.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare public rebuke, saying that "threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous."

Biggs's measure references Roberts's statement and adds that there “have already been victims of physical violence rooted in political disagreement,” citing the shootings of House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' House sets up Senate shutdown showdown GOP beginning to jockey for post-election leadership slots MORE (R-La.) in 2017 and of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in 2011.

It also 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.”