After keeping completely silent after Donald Trump singled out his Supreme Court colleagues Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg for unjustified public criticism last week, Chief Justice John Roberts is now facing accusations of partisanship with his condemnation of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s comments about the two conservative justices appointed by the president during his term.
Senator Schumer (D-NY) had addressed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh earlier in the day in remarks while standing in front of the Supreme Court speaking to a crowd of activists fighting for a woman’s right to control their own biological destiny.
“I want to tell you, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch, you have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said as the judges hear opening arguments on the case Wednesday. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
While Schumer was referring to the force of public political pushback against any weakening of a woman’s right to choose according to his spokesman, Chief Justice Roberts interpreted it much differently than he did Trump’s troubling call for Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg to recuse themselves from cases involving his administration.
“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,” Roberts warned in a statement after hearing Schumer’s comments.
Apparently, the lack of any riots in the streets after Roberts presided over a sham impeachment trial that acquitted Donald Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress meant that the threat of the collapse of our constitutional system of checks and balances is considerably less inappropriate and dangerous than the thought of political fallout from the denial of human rights from half the U.S, population to satisfy the religious beliefs of a minority despite the 1st Amendment prohibition of the establishment of a state religion.
Having shown his political hand by his choice of whose comments to respond to, Roberts now lacks the credibility of impartiality to deliver anything but a judgment that will be seen as a political response whatever the eventual disposition of the current case challenging Roe v. Wade that the court is currently considering.
As for Senator Schumer, his office replied to the Chief Justice’s comments with a sharply worded accusation of exactly the type of partisanship that Robert’s claims to avoid in his public statements, if not in his actions.
“For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said, while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes,” Schumer’s statement read.
While the usual right-wing pundits attack Senator Schumer for his partisanship and what they are calling an attack on judicial independence, they are silent when Trump says things that not only go further in undermining both public confidence in the impartiality of the courts and their independence of the executive branch.
Combine that with Trump’s packing of the federal courts with judges deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association, and you have a picture of what is happening that is truly dangerous, both for the American people’s faith in their legal system and for the rights of its citizens.