Amy Coney Barrett Hearings: Dianne Feinstein Thanks Lindsey Graham

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) listens next to Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during the third day of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Washington, D.C., October 14, (Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) on Thursday, the final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, thanked Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) for presiding over “one of the best set of hearings” that she had participated in.

“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,” the Democrat told the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“It leaves one with a lot of hopes, a lot of questions and even some ideas perhaps of good bipartisan legislation we can put together to make this great country even better,” said Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, before thanking Graham for his leadership.

The moment of bipartisanship comes after weeks of Democrats decrying the hearings and criticizing Republicans for moving forward with the confirmation process only weeks before the November 3 election.

Feinstein herself on Monday had accused Senate Republicans of “pressing forward, full speed ahead, to consolidate a court that will carry their policies forward.”

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said during the hearings that the “process is not normal,” and that the move to confirm Barrett had been a “rushed sham process.”

“It’s making history. Never before has a Supreme Court nominee been approved after July in an election,” he said. 

After Graham scheduled Barrett’s markup before the hearings had begun, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D.,N.Y.) on Monday criticized the chairman, saying that “by jumping to the next step in the process before Judge Barrett’s hearing is complete, Chairman Graham is showing that even he considers this process to be an illegitimate sham.”

Before the hearings began, last month Schumer said that moving forward with Barrett’s confirmation would “spell the end” of the Senate.

“By all rights, by every modicum of decency and honor, Leader McConnell and the Republican Senate majority have no right to fill it, no right,” Schumer said of the vacancy on the Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

After Feinstein’s show of appreciation for Graham, Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group, on Thursday called on Feinstein to step down as the Committee’s top Democrat, according to the Huffington Post.

“It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to step down from her leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If she won’t, her colleagues need to intervene,” the group’s executive director Brian Fallon said.

“She has undercut Dems’ position at every step of this process, from undermining calls for filibuster and Court reform … to thanking Republicans for the most egregious partisan power grab in the modern history of the Supreme Court,” he added.

The group added that it has become “increasingly clear that Democrats are not doing enough to show that this is an illegitimate process with an illegitimate nominee.”

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