Life Advocacy Briefing

March 9, 2020

Breaking? / Senate ‘Leader’ Crosses the Line
Getting It Right in West Virginia / Creative Maneuver
Sen. Schumer Rebuked / ‘Unhinged’


LIFE ADVOCACY’s EDITORIAL TEAM will be traveling during our usual publication-deadline time late this week; consequently, we might need to forego a week’s publication. We will be attempting to work ahead, but if Life Advocacy Briefing does not arrive at the usual time for a March 16 edition, please do not be surprised. We expect, in any case, to resume publication March 23 if we do need to suspend for a week; stay tuned!



Senate ‘Leader’ Crosses the Line

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHARLES SCHUMER WHACKED A BEEHIVE last Wednesday on mic at an abortion-demand rally in front of the Supreme Court while the Court was deliberating on the appeal seeking to uphold Louisiana’s law safeguarding abortion customers by requiring their abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

The New York Democrat called out Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh by name. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) read a transcript of his remarks – which Sen. McConnell called a “threat” – into the record in a Senate floor speech at the onset of the Senate’s session Thursday morning. We publish Sen. McConnell’s speech at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing; therein, our readers will find the shocking details. The transcript takes up more of our space than we are accustomed to according a single speech, but we believe it is an important service to our readers to reprint the entirety of Sen. McConnell’s appeal.

Sen. Schumer’s office issued a non-apology statement late Wednesday claiming the Minority Leader was referring to political consequences for Senate Republicans who had confirmed the two named Justices; as Leader McConnell stated Thursday, that is not what Mr. Schumer had said and would not be a satisfactory response even if true.   

Mr. Schumer himself took to the Senate floor to persist in his attack, folding an attack on Sen. McConnell into an abortion extremism advocacy speech by way of defending his verbal assault on Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. “Yes, I am angry. The women of America are angry.” Though claiming he did not mean a physical threat in his remarks, he refused actually to apologize.

His non-apology insistence on maintaining the virtue of his actions was followed by irrelevant attacks by Assistant Minority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the language of the President as a defense of his leader and on Sen. McConnell’s actions in rebuffing then-Pres. Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia. Seeking to have the last word on the matter, Sen. Durbin had the nerve to call on the Senate to return to bipartisanship. But his desire for the last word was quickly followed by Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) calling for Mr. Schumer’s remarks to “be recognized as … an attack,” as a prelude to moving-on remarks on a variety of issues.


Getting It Right in West Virginia

KUDOS TO WEST VIRGINIA GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R) and his legislature for enacting a state-level Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which, notes Calvin Freiburger for, “requires abortionists to administer basic medical treatment to children delivered alive after failed abortions. …

“Calling it ‘unbelievable, to tell you the truth, that we have to do such a thing,’ [Gov.] Justice declared,” writes Mr. Freiburger, citing ABC News as source, “‘Today we’re going to put a stake in the sand that says for us, for us at least, we stand for Life, and we stand for the right stuff.’”

The West Virginia version does not, reportedly, include criminal penalties but does subject “violators,” Mr. Freiburger reports, to “discipline from their medical licensing board, up to and including potential revocation of their license.” Since medical licensing is a state – not federal – function, it is critical that such legislation be enacted at the state level regardless of Congressional action or inaction in the matter.

West Virginia’s Senate, which passed the bill unanimously, is comprised of 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats. The House vote was 92 to 6 “with the support,” notes National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis, “of dozens of Democrats.”


Creative Maneuver

March 2, 2020, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            Give the House conservatives credit. When it comes to protecting innocent life, there’s no quit in this bunch. Despite hostile leaders at every turn, they’ve found creative ways to keep raising the issue of infanticide. For months, they’ve used every tool at their disposal, even managing – this past Friday – to turn a bill about vaping into a debate about born-alive protections.

            More than 80 times they’ve asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to let them have a vote on abortion survivors. And more than 80 times the Democrats have said no – sometimes even cutting off the Members’ mics just so they can’t ask. But late last week, they didn’t wait to be turned down. Two days after the Senate held its own vote on medical care for abortion survivors, the House’s pro-lifers decided it was time to make a statement of their own.

            Instead of making a unanimous consent request, like they’ve been doing since January of last year, they decided to use one of the minority’s [few] other weapons: the motion to recommit. Essentially, it gives the Republicans a chance to recommend changes to the language of the bill they’re considering – which, in this case, was a proposal to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Following Greg Walden’s (R-OR) lead, the GOP decided to seize the opportunity to force the Left’s hand on another dangerous trend: infanticide.

            “We all care deeply about the health of our children,” Walden said of the tobacco regulations, adding that “the younger the child, the more vulnerable and defenseless they are. … That’s why we are offering a final amendment to the bill that literally would save the lives of the youngest children, the babies,” he explained. “I hope that we can end the ghastly practice of letting die, children when they are born alive after an abortion.”

            A lot of motions to recommit fail, like this one did. But it does make a powerful statement from Republicans – and three Democrats, Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) – who feel very strongly that House liberals have sidestepped this question long enough. At least now, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) points out, the American people know where everyone stands. “Democrats again blocked my bill requiring life-saving medical care for babies who are born alive,” she tweeted. “It breaks my heart to find that we must defend life-saving care for newborn babies. I will not stop until we get a vote on this critically important bill.”

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: We plan to publish the House voting record on the Walden motion in our next edition.]


Sen. Schumer Rebuked

March 4, 2020, Statement from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

            This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside. Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that “You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government 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.



March 5, 2020, Senate floor speech by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing

            I had planned to spend my remarks today discussing our bipartisan, bicameral agreement to fund the fight against the new coronavirus. I was looking forward to congratulating all my colleagues and discussing all the important ways this funding will help our public health experts, frontline healthcare professionals and state and local officials combat the spread of this virus and mitigate its effects. It’s a serious agreement to meet a serious challenge, and today we will send it to President Trump’s desk. So today will be an important day for the country, and it was going to be a proud day for the Senate.

            But instead the nation’s eyes are on this body for an entirely different reason. A few weeks ago, I spoke on this floor about a dangerous trend that threatens our self-government. I explained how some in the Democratic Party appear more interested in attacking the institutions of our government than in working within them. How Democrats increasingly respond to political disappointments with extreme claims that our system of government itself must be broken. The failure can’t be their own; it can’t be that the Left needs better arguments or ideas – no, no; the fault must lie with the Constitution itself. Democrats have tried to cloak their anger at President Trump in rhetoric about protecting norms and institutions, but in reality, it is their own side of the aisle where anti-institutionalism is rampant, rampant.

            We could talk about attacks on the office of the Presidency, on the electoral college, on the First Amendment, on the Senate itself. But most striking of all have been the shameless efforts to bully our nation’s independent judiciary. And yesterday, those efforts took a dangerous and disturbing turn.

            By now, many already know what the Democratic Leader shouted outside the Supreme Court yesterday morning. I’m sorry to have to read it into the record. First, he prompted a crowd of left-wing activists to boo two of the associate justices, as though Supreme Court justices were professional athletes and Sen. Schumer were jeering from the stands. And then the senior Senator from New York said this, “I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you’ve released the whirlwind and you, you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Endquote.

            Madam President, I’m not sure where to start. There is nothing to call this except “a threat.” And there’s absolutely no question to whom, to whom it was directed. Contrary to what the Democratic Leader has since tried to claim, he very, very clearly was not addressing Republican lawmakers or anyone else. He literally directed the statement to the Justices, by name. And he said, quote “If you go forward with these awful decisions” – which could only apply to the Court itself.

            The Minority Leader of the United States Senate threatened two Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court, period. There’s no other way to interpret that. Even worse, the threat was not clearly political or institutional. As I’ll discuss in a moment, these kinds of threats are sadly nothing new from Senate Democrats. This was much broader, much broader.

            The Democratic Leader traveled to the workplace of the two judges and in front of a crowd of activists, he told those judges: You will pay the price. Right in front of the Supreme Court building. And you won’t know what hit you, he said. Right in front of the Supreme Court building. If any American had these words shouted at them from a sidewalk outside their office, they would hear those threats as personal. And most likely they would hear them as threatening or inciting violence. That’s how any American would interpret those words if they were directed at us. And that’s certainly how the press and leading Democrats would have characterized them if President Trump or any senior Republican had said anything remotely, remotely similar. We’ve seen much more hay made out of much less.

            Perhaps our colleague thinks this is absurd. Perhaps he would like the most generous possible interpretation – that he got carried away and didn’t mean what he said. But if he cannot even admit to saying what he said, we certainly cannot know what he meant. At the very best, his comments were astonishingly, astonishingly reckless and completely irresponsible.

            And clearly, as the Chief Justice stated in a rare and extraordinary rebuke, they were quote “dangerous” endquote. Because no matter the intention, words carrying the apparent threat of violence can have horrific unintended consequences. In the most recent year on record, Madam President, the United States Marshals Service tracked thousands of threats and inappropriate communications against the judiciary. Thousands of threats against the judiciary. Less than three years ago, of course, an unhinged and unstable left-wing activist attempted a mass murder of Congressional Republicans at a baseball field right across the river. A Senate Leader appearing to threaten or incite violence on the steps of the Supreme Court could literally be a matter of deadly seriousness.

            So, I fully anticipate our colleague would quickly withdraw his comments and apologize. That’s what even reliably liberal legal experts like Lawrence Tribe and Neil Cahill have publicly urged. Instead, our colleague doubled down, doubled down. He tried to gaslight the entire country and stated that he was actually threatening fellow Senators, as though that would be much better. But that’s the fiction. And then a few hours later, the Democratic Leader tripled down; instead of taking Chief Justice Roberts’ sober and appropriate statement to heart, he lashed out yet again and tried to imply the Chief Justice was biased – biased – for doing his job and defending the Court.

            Let me say that again, he tripled down, and he lashed out yet again and tried to imply the Chief Justice was biased for doing the job and defending the Court. Our colleague therefore succeeded in attacking thirty-three percent of the Supreme Court in a space of a few hours. Throughout the impeachment and the Senate trial, for months, Washington Democrats preached sermons about the separation of powers and respect among equal branches. So much for all of that!

            And sadly, this attack was not some isolated incident. The leftwing campaign against the federal judiciary did not begin yesterday, not yesterday. My colleagues will recall that during the impeachment trial, the senior Senator from Massachusetts and outside pressure groups tried to attack the Chief Justice sitting right in that chair for staying neutral instead of delivering the outcomes that they wanted. These same groups came to Senator Schumer’s defense yesterday with gratuitous attacks against the Chief Justice for condemning the threat against his colleagues.

            And last summer, last summer, a number of Senate Democrats sent an extraordinary brief to the Supreme Court; it threatened to inflict institutional change on the Court if it did not rule the way the Democrats wanted. In other words, give us the ruling we want or we’ll change the numbers of the Court. Here’s what they wrote: The Supreme Court is not well. Really? The Supreme Court is not well; perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be restructured. Now what that means is, you rule the way we want or we’re going to expand the numbers and change the outcome. A political threat, plain as day. As we read the document, you half expected it to end by saying, That’s some nice judicial independence you’ve got over there; it’d be a shame if something happened to it. They couldn’t have been more clear.

            Independence from political passions is the cornerstone of our judiciary in our country. Judicial independence is what enables courts to do justice even when it is unpopular; to protect constitutional rights even when powerful interests want them infringed; judicial independence, Madam President, is what makes the United States of America a republic of laws rather than of men.

            It’s been almost a century since the last time Democrats threatened to pack the Supreme Court because they wanted different rulings. History still judges that disgraceful episode to this day. So, I would suggest that my Democratic colleagues spend less time trying to threaten impartial judges and more time coming up with ideas that are actually constitutional.

            Fortunately, this extraordinary display contains one ironic silver lining: These clumsy efforts to erode a pillar of American governance have just reminded everyone why that pillar is so crucial. These efforts to attack judicial independence remind us that independence is essential. Every time Democrats try to threaten sitting judges, we are reminded exactly, exactly why the Framers gave them life tenure and salary protection. Precisely why they did it. Every time Democrats toy with packing new seats onto the Court, we are reminded exactly why, as Justice Ginsburg, Justice Ginsburg recently said, Nine seems to be a good number. Justice Ginsburg said, Nine seems to be a good number.

            The distinguished men and women of the Supreme Court do not and must not serve at the pleasure of angry partisans. Must not serve at the pleasure of angry partisans. They do not need to pay any mind to unhinged threats, as shameful as they may be. In fact, as the Chief Justice reminded us yesterday, they are duty bound to pay such things no attention at all. Their job description is simple: to apply the law to the facts, as the Chief Justice put it, without fear or favor from whatever quarter. I have great confidence the Court will do just that. I am confident that if the facts and the Constitution would have led the Court to disappoint Democrats the day before yesterday, they will still feel free to do so today. And tomorrow. And beyond. Notwithstanding these shameful tactics.

            Now I had hoped I would not need to reiterate what every Republican Senator told the Court in August after Senate Democrats sent their threatening brief. But today, I have no choice but to say it again: Republicans are absolutely and unshakably committed to the core Constitutional principle of an independent federal judiciary, the core Constitutional principle of an independent federal judiciary. As long as this Majority holds the gavel, we will never let the Minority Leader’s dangerous views become policy. This Majority will ensure the only casualties of this recklessness are the reputations of those who engage in it.