Ethics Dunce: Senator Chuck Schumer [CORRECTED]

“I want to tell you [Justice] Kavanaugh, I want to tell you [Justice] Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions!”

—–Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, sounding like Sonny Corleone, in front of the Supreme Court.

How many ways was this demagoguery wrong, as in spectacularly unethical? Let’s see:

  • Schumer  threatened Supreme Court justices, by name. What does “pay the price” mean, if not, “Just you wait, you’re gonna regret this!”

There is no possible justification for such ominous rhetoric

  • It is an attempt at intimidation as well as  encouragement to others to follow through on Schumer’s threat. This prompted Chief Justice Roberts into a making an unprecedented protest, as he wrote, “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.”


Even addled Larry Tribe, the former Harvard Law School icon turned mad anti-Trump tweeter and conspiracy-monger, called Schumer’s outburst intolerable, tweeting,

These remarks by @SenSchumer were inexcusable. Chief Justice Roberts was right to call him on his comments. I hope the Senator, whom I’ve long admired and consider a friend, apologizes and takes back his implicit threat. It’s beneath him and his office.

Prof. Jonathan Turley joined the chorus and wrote,

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.

  • This is an massive escalation over President Trump’s various attacks on judges for their rulings. It is an example of how a President can erode standards of decorum and civility: Obama began the rot,  crossing the line of trying to pressure the Court the first time it considered the Affordable Care Act.

Trump went way beyond that with his comments and tweets about federal judges, and personal attacks on Sotomayor and  Ginsberg, and now, thanks to Schumer, it isn’t just the President attacking lower courts, but a Senate leader threatening Supreme Court justices.

  • Schumer’s comments were incompetent and incoherent.  What “terrible decisions”? Neither Gorsuch nor Kavanaugh have written any Supreme Court opinions regarding abortion. How have they “reaped the whirlwind”? How can he attack a decision that hasn’t been made yet?

It’s a lesser issue, but calling the two justices by their last names while omitting their titles is a breach of traditional decorum. Roberts did not respond by saying, “Listen up, SCHUMER!” How can Democrats keep arguing that the President is defying norms when their leaders act like this?

The Senator was shouting to an angry mob, went off script, and let his rhetoric get out of control. The ethical response would be to say so and apologize, but Schumer let his spokes-spinner make the episode worse, stating,

Ugh. That’s terrible.—obviously dishonest on its face. In fact, it’s a Jumbo: “Threatening Supreme  Court justices? What threats to Supreme Court justices?” If Schumer was referencing Senate Republicans, why were his threats specifically aimed at the two justices? He didn’t mention the Senate or Republicans!

Justices don’t care about “grassroots movements.” Those are the elected officials’ problem; not SCOTUS. The Court just interprets the law; if Congress is pressured into changing the law, that’s fine. The Justices don’t care. They don’t have to care; they have their jobs no matter what anyone thinks of their rulings.

Of course, they might care if they are at risk of being kneecapped or having their houses blown up.

The second part of Schumers’ mouthpiece’s doubledown is also dishonest.  Roberts can’t fire back every time his justices are criticized, but Schumer’s rhetoric was a threat. He was correct to declare this an ethics foul.


Sources: National Review, NBC, Hot Air

30 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Senator Chuck Schumer [CORRECTED]

  1. We are letting civility fall to the wayside. It is as if things like respect and understanding are a forgotten skill and playing to the lowest common denominator.

  2. This one pegged my What The Fuck (WTF) meter yesterday afternoon…

    Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a speech in front of the United States Supreme Court “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.”

    What awful decisions? This political hack is condemning decisions that haven’t been made yet, basically threatening two United States Supreme Court Justices with acts of retaliation in an effort to try to intimidate them into siding with the pro-abortion hive mind.

    MARCH 4, 2020 AT 4:13 PM

    Seriously Senator Schumer, WTF is wrong with you?!

  3. And then there’s this, from the perpetually Trump-deranged Dahlia Lithwick of Slate:

    Talk about rationalizations.

    My greatest disappointment with the Senate impeachment trial is that Roberts didn’t, after the votes but before adjourning, admonish both the House and the Senate for the whole fiasco. He had ample ammunition to go after both parties (albeit, especially the Dems). I think he would have done the nation a great service if he had done so by educating the public – and the legislature – what the Founders intended when they established impeachment..

  4. Let’s not pretend this is the first time the Democrats have threatened the Supreme Court recently.

    Click to access 20190812151259076_18-280bsacSenatorSheldonWhitehouse.pdf

    Let’s also not pretend that the courts are treating Trump like they have treated every other president, issuing 50% more nationwide injunctions against him than all the presidents in the 20th century. Let’s not pretend that Justice Sotomayor hasn’t accused the 5 conservative justices of undue bias by ‘putting their thumb’ on the scales of justice. Let’s not pretend that Justice Ginsberg didn’t publicly called Trump ‘a faker’, demand to know how he gets away with not releasing his tax returns, and strongly suggested that it would be disastrous for him to be President. Let’s not pretend that the courts haven’t crossed the line in separation of powers by ordering Trump to issue an executive order.

    Yes, Trump is guilty of participating in this, but let’s not pretend he started it or that he is worse than the others.

    • Sotomayor’s claim is just more projection from the Saul Alinsky school. Everything they complain about is what they have done, are doing, or are planning to do. Schumer is just another voice in the Alinskyite choir singing from the hymn book of bullying and deceit.

    • Supreme Court justices making statements like that is absolutely grotesque, somewhat like seeing senators and congressmen physically attack each other. If there aren’t signs of an empire in decline, I don’t know what is.

  5. Jack, I think I always enjoy your selection of screen caps, but I feel this one especially demands vocal appreciation.

    (Full disclosure: I also stashed away a copy of that image of a werewolf in a double-breasted suit leaping at fleeing Nazis for eventual personal use)

    • I like the statement/warning/premonition, “Democracy dies in darkness”. I wonder how many Americans really understand that, how applicable it is in today’s information network, and the complicity in that that they share? How ironic that we live in a time with unprecedented access to information, yet we’re probably as uninformed, or moreso, than ever, by our own choosing.

      I love Jack’s inclusion of his father. He’s obviously a great man, whose influence can be felt in every word Jack types. I would die a happy man, if by my actions as a father I could touch the lives of the smallest fraction of the number that he has.

  6. What this boils down to is the mask dropping. Schumer intends consequences to both those judges should the Democrats ever come to power in the Senate. He said exactly what he meant, and that’s why he’s not backing down.

    As far as civility, well, it left the building back when Obama lied in his SOTU about Citizens United, at least as directed toward the Supreme Court. But nobody will even consider that, because Obama was “scandal free,” don’ch know…

  7. I guess being from Brooklyn has its benefits. Schumer apologized (well, if you want to call this an apology because I can’t find the words “I’m sorry” or their ilk anywhere in his comments) this morning on the Senate floor:

    “Now, I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They didn’t come out the way I intended to, My point was that there would be political consequences, political consequences for President (Donald) Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court, with the newly confirmed justices, stripped away a woman’s right to choose.”

    He added, “Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise. I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never, never would do such a thing. And Leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that, too.”

    We will keep this in mind the next time Pres. Trump goes all funny in the head and makes an obnoxious comment about someone, anyone. Thanks for the update, Chuck.


    • Just to put this in context: Chuck is also the senator who said in 2007 that, with 18 months to go for GWB, no judicial nominees should be considered, then spouted outrage at Mitch McConnell for refusing to consider Merrick Garland in the final eleven months of Obama’s presidency, then said not to bring up what he said in 2007. Now he’s on video threatening Trump’s additions to the Supreme Court like a lawyer who can pound neither the law nor the facts, because neither is on his side, so he’s pounding the table and threatening to call the bar on opposing counsel instead (which happened to me last week – the judge was not impressed and gave that lawyer a verbal smackdown). Then he tries to gaslight the public and justify his actions by saying he’s from Brooklyn.

      For the record, his dad ran an exterminating business and he was a studious valedictorian at James Madison High School (which is no average public school). He isn’t some blue-collar Brian Schwartz who grew up learning boxing and judo because “when you’re Jewish, you either learn to fight, or you take a lotta shit.” Even if he was, he went to Harvard undergrad and law school, and he should have left that behind long ago. NJ state senator Ray Lesniak, also a trained attorney, threatened once to punch another state senator’s nose down his throat, and later justified it by saying he grew up in the port area of Elizabeth. Yeah, yeah, Ray, whatever (this other state senator was much younger and still active with the military and would have punched Lesniak’s lights out, but had the wisdom not to do it).. Acting like a bully and then blaming blue-collar roots is just saying “I never really learned better and I still think real men settle their differences with their fists.” Blaming blue-collar roots that don’t really exist is lying.

      Apparently that lying bastard Harry Reid taught Chuck pretty well, but not well enough. He didn’t say what he said on the floor of the Senate, where no one could touch him. He said it openly, and then tried to lie his way out of it. Chuck should just admit the truth: the Democratic Party is so invested in preserving the absolute right of a woman to destroy a gestating human life that it will fight tooth and nail to prevent even the slightest restrictions on that right, to the point where under a Democratic regime, there would be only two rights: the right to get an abortion, and the right to ask permission to do anything else.

  8. Chuck Schumer is a weasel who should be censured by the Senate. His lack of character in refusing to admit that he threatened two Supreme Court Justices and attempted to intimidate them in future court decisions makes him sound like a small time mob boss.

  9. I could have been persuaded to excuse “Schumer’s” statement as him just getting caught up in Angry Mob Contagion, had his non-apology apology reflected this. He started to do this, but then said “Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public-opinion consequences for the Supreme Court. And it’s a gross distortion to imply otherwise,”.

    Really? At this point, he’s had some time to mull this over, and try to figure out why people are getting so worked up about what he said. I’m reading it this way: Introduce plausible deniability, then immediately deflect, in order to dissipate blame by asking “how could you possibly mistake my motives?”, or something close to this. Crocodile tears; it rings very insincere to me.

  10. Oh, Leftist media is characterizing this outburst and Justice Robert’s appropriate rebuke as a “controversy between the Senator and SCOTUS”…

    Uh…? It’s not controversial at all…Schumer is 100% in the wrong here and Robert’s response wholly appropriate. This isn’t some tussle with blame to share.

    Then McConnell’s censures Schumer, quite appropriately, and Leftist media characterizes his comments as “seizing on” Schumer’s remarks. In the vein of “GOP pounce” hit pieces as they work their spin at top gear.

  11. I do not believe that stating that Sotomayor and Ginsberg should recuse themselves from cases involving Trump because they had made several disparaging statements against him earlier such as; “he’s a faker”, or something to the effect that Trump should be made to release his tax returns, is an attack on two justices on the Supreme Court.

    To the average person, such comments would indicate a prejudicial jurist. Let us remember that Justice Sotomayor claimed to have special qualifications when she said “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Ginsburg and Sotomayor have themselves made statements that call into question their objectivity. Moreover, despite Justice Roberts contention their are no Obama judges there are just judges, the notion that that every Justice on the court is 100% objective is a fiction. If Roberts was correct then why do Schumer and McConnell fight to get their choices on the bench and prevent the opposition’s choices from serving? The key is whether or not the justices let their desires influence the decisions rendered.

    What Charles Schumer has done is put an asterisk by whatever decision is ultimately rendered. He has, for all intents and purposes, attempted to influence a judicial proceeding. We will never know if his efforts swayed any of the jurists but we will know that the decision is suspect.

    Politics has polluted our judicial system. If you want to talk about existential threats to our society, the polluting rhetoric from politicians, judicial decrees from shopped judges, and the abandonment of Federal supremacy will result in our nation becoming nothing more than a collection of warring tribes. How many members of Congress have demanded Barr resign when he exercised his appropriate powers in a manner that was contrary to the desires of the opposition party? What about Sessions? Why does the law operate one way in one jurisdiction and another way elsewhere? Why do some get the book thrown at them when we look the other way at others for similar offenses. If this continues we won’t have to wait 12 years for the polar caps to melt away and create ocean front property in Pittsburg, we will all die fighting among ourselves. All thanks to our desire to beat into submission anyone that does not toe the line.

    It annoys me to no end when I hear that how awful it was that Trump attacked so and so when in fact he simply responded to a provocation. Maybe it annoys me because it used to happen to me quite regularly. This tactic is the equivalent of when weaker party demands sympathy and action against an animal when the dog bites him after he had tormented it with a stick.

    This tactic against Trump started at the DNC convention when the Gold Star parents went off on Trump as the nominee because of his promoted travel ban. The parents were Pakistani Americans whose son was killed in Afghanistan. Mr. and a silent Ms. Kahn stood on the stage and publicly berated Trump at the behest to the DNC. During Kahn’s tirade he claimed Trump never sacrificed anything and if he even had read the U.S. Constitution. What was not stated was that the father, Kazir Kahn is an immigration lawyer and activists promoting the increase of Muslim middle eastern immigration. Jennifer Rubin on July 3, 2016 claimed he attacked Mrs. Kahn when Trump was pressured by reporters to comment on Kazir Kahn’s attacks on him. Even Trump’s comments about John McCain were precipitated by McCain’s many insults levied at Trump. McCain was relying on the Kings Pass. He relied on his one significant military accomplishment to inoculate himself against any criticism of his own behaviors. The fact is that civility has never been commonplace in politics. The only thing Trump has changed is the vector of the attack. He does not use a sneaky oblique attack that allows the attacker plausible deniability so common among the elite, he comes at you head on.

  12. I often wonder how close we are to seeing a replay of the 1856 beating (with a cane) of Senator Charles Sumner by Congressman Preston Brooks, over the content of an anti-slavery speech by Sumner which personally attacked other senators including Congressman Brooks’ cousin, Senator Andrew Butler.

    • On the one hand, probably not very. On the other hand, probably very far, since Preston Brooks was only able to get away with his despicable act of thuggery because one of his friends held all the senators at gunpoint, preventing them from going to Sumner’s aid. These days the Capitol Police would be all over anyone who tried that and he would be the one getting a beating with a nightstick. By the way, Brooks died soon after of liver disease, couldn’t have happened to somebody more deserving.

  13. I am confused by the quote above. It refers to “Justice . . .” Schumer didn’t do that. He said this, with rancor and malice:

    “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh – you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”

    That is very different.


  14. “I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions!”

    “It’s a lesser issue, but calling the two justices by their last names while omitting their titles is a breach of traditional decorum. Roberts did not respond by saying, “Listen up, SCHUMER!” How can Democrats keep arguing that the President is defying norms when their leaders act like this?”

    The quote on the top seems to contradict your later comment, and everything I can find with Google omits the words “justice” from that quote. Force of habit?

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