Chuck Schumer, Judicial Supremacy, and Violence

By John Zmirak Published on March 6, 2020

Watching Senator Chuck Schumer issue vague threats against two Supreme Court justices over the abortion issue brought back memories. I recall having violent thoughts about SCOTUS members on that very subject. They started the first time I learned the origins of Roe v. Wade. In my defense, I was

  1. Not a U.S. senator. And
  2. Eleven years old.

I’ve since thought long and hard about the question: “Why not use violence, if need be, stop the mass murder of children?” As I got older, I realized that violence used in politics — whether directly against abortionists, or indirectly, against lying judges who pervert the Constitution to keep abortionists in business — is wrong. Almost all the time.

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Not all the time, because if I said that, I’d have to condemn the American Revolution. I’m not willing to do that. There is a broad middle ground between “Tory” and “terrorist.”

Apply Christian Just War Principles

To stay there, we must apply the same “Just War” principles, which St. Augustine developed in view of wars between cities and nations, to domestic politics and the prospect of civil war. Because if you start acting as a vigilante to enforce laws that should exist (but don’t), you’re effectively declaring war on the government. Using violent means to settle political disputes? That’s declaring a civil war.

So the same moral rules apply as when we decide if our government itself should embark on a war. Those should be rigorous. Violence must always be the very last, and reluctant resort. The Catholic Catechism lays out the broad Christian tradition on this question as follows.

  1. The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain.
  2. All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective.
  3. There must be serious prospects of success.
  4. The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. (The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.)

Schumer Can’t Stomach Disobedience to Judicial Dictatorship

Prolife Americans realize that the case for violence against either judges or abortionists can’t fulfill all these criteria. (Especially #3.) Pro-choice Americans? It’s simply outrageous to imagine that it meets any of them. (Except #3.) That’s why it’s so shocking to hear someone like Schumer threaten presumptively pro-life SCOTUS members with violence. (Or even something less than that, like impeachment. See below.) The system is rigged in his favor, and has been for decades.

As Justice Scalia once observed, the left in America gave up on constitutional amendments decades ago. The failure of the Equal Rights Amendment and “success” of Roe v. Wade told leftists to stop wasting their time. Why try painstakingly to thread the needle of changing the Constitution, using the democratic method our Founders prescribed?

How silly, when instead of amending the Constitution five judges could simply hijack it. They can make an outrageous decision such as Roe v. Wade, and who is going to stop them? Not the president or Congress. Not the people, except if we can obtain the kind of national supermajority required for a Constitutional amendment.

Perhaps not even a future, more conservative court — not if it clings to the absurd notion that even lawless decisions by past courts deserve the deference of “precedence.” That was one of the excuses used in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Overturning a previous decision, the majority claimed, might diminish respect for the Supreme Court. (Cue America’s tiniest violin.)

The Fight Has Been Fixed

The pro-life movement has since 1973 tried to play by all the rules of American politics. When it became clear we lacked the support for a constitutional amendment, we turned to reforming the courts. Elites within the GOP have undermined that effort. Staffers lied to President Reagan, telling him that Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy opposed the fraudulent logic of Roe v. Wade.

The Republican establishment treats pro-lifers as the Democrats treats African-Americans. That is, as captive voters with nowhere else to go.

From the character assassination of Reagan nominee Robert Bork, all the way up until the Republicans in the Senate finally refused to confirm Obama’s late nominee Merrick Garland, the Democrats played Supreme Court hardball with aluminum bats. Republicans mostly treated court fights like prep school badminton matches.

We’re still fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. The left, when it grabs the White House, proposes court appointees whose pro-abortion credentials are on par with Kermit Gosnell’s. The right, by contrast, tries to find vaguely “originalist” justices who have never said a word on abortion throughout their lives. As if we were trying to hide some shameful secret. (“I want to protect unborn Americans, but I haven’t come out to my family yet.”)

Our Party Establishment Betrayed Us

For that reason, neither you nor I even know how Justices Roberts, Gorsuch, or Kavanaugh are likely to vote in the upcoming case of a Louisiana law demanding that abortion clinics meet basic safety standards. But we know exactly how Sotomayor, Breyer, Ginsberg, and other Democratic appointees will vote. That contrast should outrage any pro-life American. Where to point our anger? At the Republican establishment, which treats pro-lifers as the Democrats treats African-Americans. That is, as captive voters with nowhere else to go.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Maybe the “consequences” Schumer meant did not include Antifa mobs assaulting Justice Gorsuch or Kavanaugh, or destroying their homes. The FBI should certainly bring him in for questioning on that subject. Maybe the Senate should censure him.

Judicial Impeachment Should Be a Regular Tool of Politics

But what if all Schumer meant was that he’d seek to impeach SCOTUS members if they voted against what he thinks the Constitution means?

Then Schumer would be right. That’s exactly what citizens of a democratic republic should expect their senators to do. It’s what pro-lifers should have demanded starting in 1973. The pretense that the Court is apolitical, somehow “above” the rough-and-tumble of public opinion, is a crass outdated fable. We should have laughed it off decades ago, the moment the left decided to treat five lawyers in Washington from Harvard and Yale as a permanent, sitting Constitutional convention.

Such an arrangement is only a little less tyrannical than King George III’s rule over the American colonies. It’s a recipe for people giving up on the system, and tearing our country apart.

I talked about this topic with Steve Deace on BlazeTV. Check it out. My beagle Rayne makes a guest appearance. As for my own unkempt appearance, I must profoundly apologize and issue a warning to viewers: I am not deliberately trying to be the anti-Jesse Watters Thanks to scheduling confusion due to Time Zone differences I had only five minutes to prepare for the interview and did not have time to lose the stubble.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration.

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