U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and 14 others sponsored a resolution on Thursday to censure Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for his threats made against Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday during a pro-abortion rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. At that moment all nine justices were inside the courtroom hearing oral argument in the case of June Medical Services v. Russo, concerning a Louisiana law regulating abortionists.
Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, stood on the very steps of the high court, and turning toward the court yelled, “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.”
Condemnations of Schumer’s threats were fairly universal from the Left and the Right, even as the Minority Leader later attempted to walk back his comments by explaining that he was talking about Republicans paying a political price if the Supreme Court’s conservatives voted the wrong way in the June Medical Services case.
Yeah, right. No one believes that.
Notably, Schumer never apologized, unless you consider his statement, “I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They didn’t come out the way I intended them to,” to be an apology.
Each house of Congress is given the authority, under the Constitution, Article 1, Section 5 to “punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” Censure is a less severe punishment than expulsion, obviously. According to the Senate’s own website, censure “…is a formal statement of disapproval…that can have a powerful psychological effect on a member and his/her relationships in the Senate.”
Hawley’s resolution recites the facts of what Schumer said in front of the Supreme Court, including that it could have been understood as a call to commit violence against the two justices he named. It then goes on to state:
“Resolved, That the Senate—
- Censures and condemns in the strongest possible terms the Senator from New York, Mr. Schumer, for his threatening statements against Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh; and
- Calls on all members of the Senate to respect the independence of the Federal judiciary.
A censure motion requires only a majority vote. But Hawley’s resolution will likely have to go through a Senate committee before it comes to the floor for a vote.