Law & the Courts

McCarthy Calls on Senate Democrats to Reconsider Leadership after Schumer’s SCOTUS Comments

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, December 18, 2019. (House TV via Reuters)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday called on Senate Democrats to reconsider whether they want minority leader Chuck Schumer to continue in his current role in light of the threat he directed at the Supreme Court’s conservative justices.

“I don’t think you should take this lightly,” McCarthy said during a press conference. “Think about who said this and where they said it. We have three co-equal branches. You had the leader of the Democrats in the Senate standing over the Supreme Court, I believe, before the Supreme Court is going to hear a case threatening two new judges, threatening them.”

On Wednesday, Schumer spoke before a crowd of abortion advocates on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepared to consider June Medical Services v. Russo, which considers the constitutionality of a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a credential many abortionists do not have.

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer told the crowd of activists. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Schumer’s remarks received a wave of criticism from Republicans and Chief Justice John Roberts, who called them “dangerous.” The New York Democrat walked back his comments on Thursday, insisting the “price” he was referring to was the “political price” Republicans will pay at the ballot box in November.

“He’s not mincing his words in any shape or form, being cheered by it,” McCarthy continued. “We are so much better than that. I don’t care if it was a Republican or Democrat doing, it is unacceptable, and it is a new low. It’s inappropriate. It goes beyond just an apology. Is that what he really meant?”

The California Republican suggested Senate Democrats could go beyond simply censuring Schumer’s remarks.

“I think there’s other actions that could probably take place,” McCarthy said. “If they disagree with those actions, then I think something should happen.”

“I don’t know if Democrats want to change their leadership over it, but I’ve heard some talk about it,” the minority leader added.

McCarthy also pushed back on the suggestion that President Trump has made similar comments about judges, saying, “it’s very different.”

Schumer is “threatening Supreme Court justices when they have the power of confirmation to them on how to make a decision on that case. If you have co-equal branches, that’s not a role for him,” McCarthy said.

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