NARAL Pro-Choice America called for Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to step down as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee following Feinstein’s comments at the conclusion of a hearing over Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement that the nomination process is “a sham” and that Americans want the next president to be the one to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Amy Barrett and this power grab pose a grave threat to every freedom and right we hold dear and tears the very fabric of our democracy. Americans–whose lives hang in the balance–deserve leadership that underscores how unprecedented, shameful and wrong this process is,” Hogue said in a statement. “The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 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, who has indicated that she intends to vote against Barrett’s nomination, drew heavy criticism from some on the left after she praised Republican Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham’s handling of the committee process.
“Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of 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 — perhaps some good bipartisan legislation we can put together to make this great country even better,” Feinstein said, according to The Hill.
NARAL had endorsed Feinstein in 2018, when she faced a challenge from the left from progressive Democrat and former state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León.
At the time, NARAL President Hogue said, “Sen. Feinstein has been at the forefront of the movement to safeguard our rights. We need leaders in the Senate like Senator Feinstein who will stand up for the rights of women and families across California.”
Republicans hold enough seats in the Senate to confirm Barrett’s nomination before Election Day, something that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump have both called for.
Democrats have appealed to wait for the election, arguing that voting is already in process and voters should have a say in which president gets to pick Ginsburg’s successor.
Democrats point to the 2016 nomination process for Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s choice to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell prevented Obama’s nominee from receiving a hearing, keeping the seat open until Trump’s inauguration.