Progress America, a leading progressive group, called Saturday for the ouster of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Their complaint? She was too nice during the confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett, the federal circuit judge whom President Donald J. Trump has nominated to fill the seat on the United States Supreme Court left vacant by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“It’s time for Dianne Feinstein to step down from her role on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If she won’t, the Senate Democratic caucus should choose someone else to take her place,” the group sent in a blast email to activists throughout the United States. “Amy Coney Barrett is an extremist who should not be on the Supreme Court — and Senate Democrats should be doing everything they can to highlight the illegitimacy of the confirmation process. And yet, at the end of the hearings, Senator Dianne Feinstein thanked the Republicans and hugged (South Carolina Republican and Committee Chairman) Lindsey Graham for chairing the hearing, saying it was one of the best she’d ever joined.”
Progressive outrage with Feinstein is not new. The longtime senator and former San Francisco mayor beat back a challenger from her left decisively in 2018, the last time she was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. Thanks to her seniority, she is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee beginning in January 2021 should the Democrats regain control of Congress’s upper chamber in the November election.
The 87-year-old Feinstein’s supposed coziness with committee Republicans, a sign of the almost extinct bipartisan civility with which the Senate was once run, is seen as a weakness by the progressives who are demanding an all or nothing devotion to their left-wing agenda. “We need someone who knows how and when to fight. It’s time for Senator Feinstein to step down from her role as ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and to not chair that committee in 2021 if Democrats win the majority. And if Feinstein won’t step down, the Senate Democratic caucus should replace her on that committee,” Progress America said in the email.
In the wake of what the group called “Feinstein’s appalling comments” to Sen. Graham, several other organizations have reportedly joined the call for her to step down including Demand Justice, MoveOn, the Center for Popular Democracy Action, and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action.
“Americans deserve better leadership on the Senate Judiciary Committee in this critical moment. It’s clear Feinstein needs to step aside. We urge her to do the right thing. But she needs a push,” the group added, a statement some might consider a threat to her political if not personal future. “If she won’t, her Senate Democratic colleagues should remove her and choose someone else to lead them on Judiciary.”
Progress America supports left-progressive positions on voting rights, the internet, and economic policy and is a member and participant of the Action Network, an online organizing hub that brings together left-progressive groups and mobilizes supporters on its platform.
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