Today, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) appealed the dismissal of its ethics complaint filed with New York’s Attorney Grievance Committee (AGC) against U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer for his threatening comments made in March on the Supreme Court steps before a cheering activist crowd against Justices Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during the hearing on a controversial 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. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.
Senator Schumer’s remarks drew a public rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, the legal community, including the American Bar Association, and many Members of Congress, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, noting that such threats are “dangerous.”
In its one-paragraph dismissal letter dated July 27, 2020, the AGC did not dispute that Schumer’s conduct was “prejudicial to the administration of justice,” a violation of a rule of professional conduct, but noted Schumer was already criticized, that his threats to federal judges “may be” protected by the First Amendment, and that the committee simply didn’t want to get involved in “political controversies.”
In its five-page appeal, the NLPC blasted the Grievance Committee for shirking its duty to enforce its professional rules of conduct, especially for threats against judges, noting that there are related criminal penalties and the recent shooting of the son of a New Jersey federal judge.
“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,” said Peter Flaherty, NLPC Chairman.
“Sadly, it appears that the Bar has abdicated its duty to enforce its ethics rules because Senator Schumer holds high political office,” said Paul Kamenar, NLPC Counsel who drafted the original complaint and the appeal.