WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a robust defense of President DonaldTrump’s two appointments to the Supreme Court Thursday.
McConnell scolded Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for saying two justices will “pay the price” if they rule to restrict abortion access.
Schumer says the remarks are being willfully contorted by Republicans.
When Schumer made the comments about Supreme Court judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the steps of the high court Wednesday, it was in an atmosphere ripe with passion as the high court heard arguments in the first major reproductive rights case of the Trump era.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the comments were dangerous and McConnell gave a strong rebuke as well, using an extraordinary amount of time on the Senate floor to not only castigate Schumer but suggest the episode was part of a larger spirit of anti-institutionalism among Congressional Democrats.
Schumer conceded he could have used different words but argued Senate Republicans are so severely criticizing him because they don’t want to address the underlying issue of chipping away at women’s access to abortion, which Schumer believes could hurt them politically.
The back and forth between Schumer and McConnell and the rare statement from Roberts could be read as more than just another Washington fight but instead a sign of how political arguments about the role of the Supreme Court have become.
“The distinguished men and women of the Supreme Court do not and must not serve at the pleasure of angry partisans. They do not need to pay any mind to unhinged threats,” said McConnell.
“I feel so deeply the anger of women all across America about Senate Republicans and the courts working hand in glove to take down Roe v. Wade,” said Schumer.
McConnell worked hard to usher through the confirmations of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and has said he views his role in remaking the federal judiciary with President Trump to be one of the most significant contributions he can make while holding elected office. He’s also using the confirmation of conservative judges in his bid for re-election in Kentucky.