Harold Ford Jr. slams Schumer's 'pay the price' remarks: 'You can't incite violence'

Harold Ford Jr. slams Schumer's 'pay the price' remarks: 'You can't incite violence'
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) late Wednesday criticized remarks by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight Federal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members MORE (D-N.Y.) aimed at two Supreme Court justices, with the former Democratic congressman saying "you can't incite violence."

"We're at a low point when presidents, Supreme Court justices and congresspeople are going at each other," Ford Jr., who represented Tennessee from 1997 to 2007, said during a panel discussion on Fox News's "Special Report."

"There's nothing wrong with Schumer saying, 'I disagree with what you guys are going to do. I hope you pay attention to the law the way I see it,' " he continued. "However, you can't incite violence. And one could make the case, whether he meant it or not, he's encouraging a kind of activity."

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"There's nothing wrong with a little rough politics. But this is not the kind of politics the American people signed up for. Democrat or Republican. Pro-choice or pro-life. It was wrong of Sen. Schumer, and I'm glad the chief justice shot back," Ford added.

The rebuke came after Schumer earlier Wednesday warned that Justices Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchIt wasn't just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled Supreme Court denies California church's challenge to state restrictions Speculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughIt wasn't just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled Supreme Court denies California church's challenge to state restrictions Supreme Court denies Illinois churches' request for action after state eases restrictions MORE, who were both nominated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE, had "unleashed a whirlwind" and "will pay the price" if they voted against abortion rights.

“You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions," Schumer added.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday regarding an abortion law in Louisiana that could ultimately result in the court rehearing the protections that came with the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the procedure.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts later rebuked Schumer in a rare public statement.

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"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," he said.

Schumer's spokesman, Justin Goodman, responded by accusing Roberts of following the "right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said."

“Sen. Schumer’s comments were a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision," Goodman said.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support GOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown Trump's social media executive order is a huge opportunity MORE (R-Mo.) also tweeted Wednesday night he would introduce a motion on Thursday to censure Schumer.

"I would call on Schumer to apologize, but we all know he has no shame," Hawley said. "So tomorrow I will introduce a motion to censure Schumer for his pathetic attempt at intimidation" of Supreme Court justices.