If that wasn’t enough to upset the Democrats – who this week tried to label Barrett’s nomination process a fraud – Feinstein also thanked committee chairman Senator Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) and then passed the street space to wrap him in a hug.
It doesn’t matter that none of the senators wore a face mask. So many Democrats were so outraged by what that hug symbolized – one final white flag, a compliment to Graham after a comparatively tame week of questioning ̵
“It is time for Senator Feinstein to step down from her leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, in a statement. “If she doesn’t want to, her colleagues have to intervene.”
His organization, which opposes conservative candidates for justice, accused the Senator of undermining Liberal demands for filibuster and judicial reform, “to the point of thanking the Republicans” for what they call “the most egregious partisan takeover “referred to in modern history of the Supreme Court.
Feinstein’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post. Her office referred the Associated Press to the senator’s explanation of why she wanted to vote against Barrett’s confirmation.
“The Justice Committee Democrats had one goal this week: to show what a Conservative 6-3 Supreme Court is about – and we did,” Feinstein said in a statement Thursday. “We have shown that Judge Barrett has long been against the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. calf and represents the vote to overthrow both. “
With Republicans rushing to approve Barrett ahead of the election – a move that could push the court to the right for decades and potentially affect important issues like abortion and health care – some fear Feinstein wasn’t fighting hard enough for the seat he was Justice was previously held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late liberal icon.
Her praising Graham’s oversight of the process and then standing up and hugging him was simply the final provocation for many liberals.
“To be able to say this about this ongoing travesty,” said Jon Lovett, former aide to President Barack Obama and co-host of Pod Save America, “is another sad statement of how badly we are represented by Dianne Feinstein. “
Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, made a name for herself on Capitol Hill by investigating the CIA and fighting for tighter gun control.
But in recent years, the 87-year-old senator has often gotten more attention for her gaffes. Last year she was filmed for a now infamous interaction on Saturday Night Live in which she fired a group of schoolchildren who asked her to stand up for the Green New Deal.
And even before the Senate took another nomination this month, Democrats voiced concerns that Feinstein – the oldest lawmaker in their chamber and the second oldest in Congress – was too far away to fight the GOP for the future of Ginsburg’s seat.
Republicans also denounced Feinstein, taking advantage of the comments they made on Barrett’s religious “dogma” during the judge’s confirmatory trial for the US 7th District Court of Appeals.
In a way, the Senator has still stood the test of time, producing some of the most revealing moments of Barrett’s hearing. As the AP noted, Feinstein urged Barrett to see if Medicare is constitutional and if she agrees with her mentor, the late Judge Antonin Scalia, that the voting law “upholds racial rights.” (Barrett did not answer any of the questions directly.)
But many observers on the left gave her bad marks. For example, they didn’t fight Graham when the committee was not quorate, they said.
“I don’t care that Feinstein and Graham are friends,” wrote Susan Hennessey, editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog. “It is important to me that Feinstein has catastrophically mismanaged the hearings, has been tricked without realizing it, and has done the public a serious disadvantage.”
Others criticized Feinstein for positively praising Graham when he was involved in a close race against Jaime Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party leader who has broken records for fundraising in recent months.
Many began brainstorming how to get her kicked off the Senate Judiciary Committee, especially if the Democrats take over the White House: vote them up. Replace with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.). Appoint her to a cabinet position. Send them to Paris!
Or as the comedian Billy Eichner said: “Time to withdraw.”