Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is feeling the wrath of progressive Democrats for rejecting scorched-earth tactics during the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Feinstein, 87, is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Even prior to the hearing, there were whispers among Democrats that Feinstein might not sufficiently hammer Barrett in the same fashion as Democrats attacked now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 confirmation hearing.
With Barrett facing her committee vote Thursday and a full Senate vote Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York gave Feinstein a talking-to, he revealed Tuesday.
“I’ve had a long and serious talk with Senator Feinstein. That’s all I’m going to say about it right now,” Schumer said, according to The Washington Post.
When asked about Schumer’s comments, Feinstein “lifted her hand to signal she wouldn’t answer,” the Post reported.
“Please. Thank you,” she said and declined to speak.
Feinstein had rejected a boycott of Barrett’s hearing, and last Thursday enraged some progressives by hugging longtime colleague Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who chairs the committee.
“Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you,” Feinstein said. “This has been one of the best Senate hearings that I’ve participated in, and I want to thank you for your fairness and the opportunity of going back and forth.”
“It leaves one with a lot of hopes, a lot of questions, and even some ideas of good bipartisan legislation we could put together to make this great country even better,” she said.
Graham was equally gracious when he replied.
“I know we have very different views about the judge and whether we should be doing this or not. But having said all that, to my Democratic colleagues, you have challenged the judge, you have challenged us, and I accept those challenges as being sincere and not personal,” he said.
The bipartisanship appeared to be too much for NARAL Pro-Choice America’s president, Ilyse Hogue, and NARAL tweeted a statement that excoriated Feinstein.
“This is not normal, these hearings are not legitimate. Dianne Feinstein gave credibility to the process when the majority of Americans have been clear that they want to choose the next president — and the next president should fill the vacancy. The committee needs new leadership,” the tweet said.
This is not normal, these hearings are not legitimate. Dianne Feinstein gave credibility to the process when the majority of Americans have been clear that they want to choose the next president—and the next president should fill the vacancy. The committee needs new leadership. pic.twitter.com/Szaxb2S6Wh
— NARAL (@NARAL) October 16, 2020
Hogue’s statement said the Judiciary Committee needs leadership that “underscores how unprecedented, shameful and wrong this process is.”
Feinstein, Hogue said, “failed to make this clear and in fact offered an appearance of credibility to the proceedings that is wildly out of step with the American people. As such, we believe the committee needs new leadership.”
Feinstein’s office issued a statement in response.
“The Senate is structured so the majority had absolute control over this process. When Republicans signaled they’d move ahead in the face of all objections, the only thing we could do was show this nominee would radically alter the court, and we accomplished that,” the statement said, adding that Feinstein will oppose Barrett’s nomination.
Graham on Tuesday defended his colleague and said the far-left feeding frenzy over Feinstein is a sign of the polarization and extremism shaping politics.
“Some people, it’s not whether you agree with them. You have to hate the people that they hate, and that’s a race to the bottom. And Dianne — I feel terrible, I really do, she’s a good person,” Graham said.
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