Judge Napolitano: Schumer's controversial Supreme Court comments are protected

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer's recent comments directed at Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are protected by the Constitution.

"For this to be a threat, he would have to have had the present apparent ability to carry it out at the moment he uttered it, which he didn't," he said on the "Fox News Rundown" podcast. "And the Supreme Court has ruled that this type of speech is protected."

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Sen. Schumer, D-N.Y., appeared to issue a vague warning toward Gorsuch and Kavanaugh during a rally on Wednesday, as the court heard arguments in a high-profile abortion case.

"I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!" Schumer warned during the rally hosted by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

"You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions," he added.

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts issued a highly unusual and forceful rebuke to Schumer soon afterward, calling his threatening remarks "irresponsible" and "dangerous" — in turn prompting Schumer's office to slam Roberts and accuse him of bias.

Napolitano also gave his thoughts on the Supreme Court and lower courts being viewed as political bodies.
 
"It's unfortunate because, again, it undermines the moral suasion of the entire court system," Napolitano said.

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"Anything that ignores the fact that judges have life tenure and cannot lose their jobs unless they are impeached for committing a felony," Napolitano added. "The intellectual freedom and intellectual honesty causes you to shed your former political ties."

Speaking on the Senate floor later on Thursday morning, Schumer insisted he in no way meant to threaten Gorsuch or Kavanaugh, and said that "McConnell knows this." He claimed he was referring to the political consequences the Louisiana case could have.

"Now I should not have used the words I used," Schumer said.

"They didn't come out the way I intended to. I'm from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language."

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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