A conservative legal advocacy group is reviving its ethics complaint against Sen. Chuck Schumer for making “threatening comments” against Supreme Court Justices Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during an abortion rights rally earlier this year.
The National Legal and Policy Center said Thursday it appealed the New York State court system’s dismissal of its complaint against Schumer after accusing state officials of trying to sweep the case “under the rug” because he’s a powerful politician.
Schumer, a lawyer, is a member of the Bar Association and the Office of Court Administration’s attorney grievance committees investigate ethics complaints leveled against licensed attorneys.
During an abortion rights rally in March on the steps of the US Supreme Court, Schumer said, “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.”
He was referring to the judges potentially restricting abortion rights.
But in a one-paragraph dismissal letter dated July 27, 2020, the grievance committee of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division told the NLPC that it is “cautious” about disciplining lawyers for comments that “may be protected by the First Amendment” and was “mindful not to wade into political controversies.”
NPLC counsel Paul Kamaner filed an appeal, accusing court officials of “brushing off” the complaint.
The counsel’s chairman, Peter Slaherty, said “Senator Schumer’s threats against Supreme Court Justices cannot be swept under the rug by New York bar authorities just because they were politically controversial.”
“Sadly,” Flaherty added, “it appears that the Bar has abdicated its duty to enforce its ethics rules because Senator Schumer holds high political office.”
The New York State Republican Party also had filed an ethics complaint against Schumer.
Schumer, through a spokesman, declined comment.
Schumer previously walked back his comments after getting pilloried by Chief Justice John Roberts and GOP lawmakers, but denied he threatened the judges.
“I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat,” Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, said on the Senate floor.
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