By Emily Drooby
Senator Chuck Schumer is apologizing after being slammed over warnings he issued against two Supreme Court justices by name.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind. And you will pay the price,” he said.
At the time Schumer spoke, the justices were listening to arguments about a Louisiana law that would limit abortion.
“I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat,” he later said in his apology. “I never, never, never would do such a thing.”
Saint John’s University political science professor Brian Browne believes the furor is far from normal.
“The judiciary is usually an independent branch of government, and this kind of rhetoric —
whether it’s from the Republican side or the Democratic side — it’s inappropriate and shouldn’t happen,” he explained.
In a rare move, Chief Justice John Roberts condemned the remarks publicly, writing,”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.”
Browne sees the incident is part of an unfortunate trend.
“You’ve seen a coarsening political rhetoric, and you’ve seen it on both sides,” he said.
Not long ago, President Trump criticized justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg, and in 2010 President Obama at his State of the Union blasted a high court decision on campaign finance.
“What we have seen over the years is this growing trend of people criticizing judiciary or weighing in, inserting partisan politics into these legal matters which really shouldn’t happen,” said Browne.
The fight to preserve unborn life is passionate, and Browne said it’s important for advocates and opponents alike to stay civil.
“We should set rules that say we can disagree without being disagreeable,” he said. “The Supreme Court Justices, they’re not advocates. They interpret the law, they interpret the U.S. Constitution.”