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Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed regret on Thursday for comments he made about Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, following a rare public rebuke by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The backdrop: As the Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday for its first major abortion case since Kavanaugh was confirmed, Schumer warned the two conservative justices that "you won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions." Roberts responded that "threatening statements" from top public officials are "not only inappropriate," but also "dangerous."

What he's saying:

"Now, I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They did not come out the way I intended to. My point was that there would be political consequences—political consequences, for President Trump and Senate Republicans—if the Supreme Court, with newly confirmed Justices, stripped away a woman’s right to choose. Of course, I did not intend to suggest anything other than political and public opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise.
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. I never—never—would do such a thing. And Leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that too."

The big picture: Schumer's comments drew a pile-on from Republicans. On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell called the remarks "threatening" and "dangerous," adding: "Every time Democrats try to threaten sitting judges, we are reminded exactly, exactly, why the framers gave them life tenure and salary protection."

  • President Trump also tweeted Thursday that Schumer brought "great danger" to the justices, despite Trump himself frequently attacking the federal judiciary for rulings he didn't like and using phrases like "Obama judges."

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day One immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.

10 hours ago - Sports

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.