Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he made his remarks about Supreme Court — which some have called a threat against sitting justices —when defending a woman’s right to choose, but admitted he should have been more careful.
“I feel so passionately about this issue,” the New York Democrat said, saying Senate Republicans have worked to tear down Roe v. Wade by confirming conservative judges under President Trump.
But the Democratic leader admitted he is from Brooklyn and spoke in a strong language while before the high court Wednesday while the justices were hearing a case about a Louisiana law regulating abortion providers.
“I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They did not come out the way I intended them to. My point was there would be political consequences for President Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court and newly confirmed justices stripped away a woman’s right to choose,” Mr. Schumer said on the chamber floor Thursday.
He said he would never make a threat, and Senate Republicans know that, yet they have attempted to manufacture a political issue over it.
The controversy spilled onto the Senate floor Thursday after Republicans have called for an apology following Mr. Schumer’s comments to pro-choice activists at the Supreme Court the day prior. Republicans have alleged he threatened two sitting justices — Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.
“You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Mr. Schumer said.
The comment spurred Chief Justice John G. Roberts to issue a rare public statement rebuking the senator.
“Justices knows 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,” he said.
“All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter,” the chief justice concluded.