Chief Justice John Roberts Blasts Chuck Schumer for Criticism of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh at Rally

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts called remarks made by New York Senator Chuck Schumer at an abortion rights rally Wednesday "threatening."

Schumer name-checked Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom were appointed to the bench by President Donald Trump, while speaking at the rally which was held outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Inside, Supreme Court justices were pondering the legality of a Louisiana law which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals, a requirement critics of the law have found to be restrictive and unnecessary. If the law were allowed to go into effect, only one clinic and one abortion doctor would be available in the entire state. The law was blocked by a federal judge, but that decision was overturned by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Although the law has been remanded, the Supreme Court is reexamining it.

Democrats like Schumer are worried that conservative justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh will vote to keep the law on the books, thereby strongly restricting women's access to abortions.

"I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh," Schumer said at Wednesday's rally, "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."

In a letter released Wednesday, Chief Justice Roberts equated Schumer's remarks to threats.

"Justices know that criticisms come with the territory," Roberts wrote, "but threatening statements of this sort are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter."

Schumer's office claimed that Schumer was not making physical threats towards the Justices.

john roberts
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts called Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's remarks at a Wednesday abortion rally "threatening." Leah Millis-Pool/Getty

"Women's health care rights are at stake and Americans from every corner of the country are in anguish about what the court might do to them," said Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman in a written statement sent to Newsweek.

"Sen. Schumer's comments were a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision," the statement continued.

Roberts received criticism for calling out Schumer's remarks, but not mentioning the statements of President Donald Trump who said justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg should "recuse themselves" from any case related to him or his administration.

In February, Sotomayor dissented with the Supreme Court over the White House's public charge rule which prohibited immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens if they were deemed likely to become reliant on public assistance programs.

Referencing an alleged bias towards Trump within the Supreme Court, Sotomayor wrote that a "disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process that this Court must strive to protect."

"Sotomayor accuses GOP appointed Justices of being biased in favor of Trump.' @IngrahamAngle @FoxNews This is a terrible thing to say," Trump tweeted in February. "Trying to 'shame' some into voting her way? She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a 'faker.'"

"Both should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related, matters," Trump continued. "While 'elections have consequences,' I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!"

....on all Trump, or Trump related, matters! While “elections have consequences”, I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2020

"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," the statement from Schumer's office concluded.

Chief Justice Roberts was nominated for his seat by President George W. Bush, which Roberts assumed in 2005. Roberts recently presided over the January impeachment trial of President Trump in the U.S. Senate.