Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein is facing backlash for how she handled the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Now it's being reported that she will not seek to maintain her role as the top Democrat on the committee.
“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress," Feinstein said. “I look forward to continuing to serve as a senior Democrat on the Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules committees as we work with the Biden administration on priorities like gun safety, immigration reform and addressing inequities in criminal justice. I will continue to do my utmost to bring about positive change in the coming years.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was said to have had a long talk with Feinstein following the hearings after several top left-leaning groups demanded her resignation.
President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Ilyse Hogue made a statement during a press release back in October saying, "This nomination is illegitimate and this process is a sham. Tens of millions of Americans have already voted and majorities have said unequivocally that they want to choose the next President who should fill this seat."
"Americans -- whose lives hang in the balance -- deserve leadership that underscores how unprecedented, shameful and wrong this process is," added Hogue. "The Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator 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.”
Schumer gave his Senate colleague praise and thanked her for her service on Monday.
“I am deeply grateful for Senator Feinstein’s leadership and contributions to our caucus and country as the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee over the last four years," Schumer wrote in a statement. "As a senior member of the Judiciary, Appropriations, Intelligence, and Rules Committees, I know Senator Feinstein will continue her work as one of the nation’s leading advocates for women’s and voting rights, gun safety reform, civil liberties, health care, and the rights of immigrants who are yearning to become citizens of this great country. Senator Feinstein’s experience, decades-long relationship with President-elect Biden, and leadership on so many issues will continue to be an asset for our caucus, California, and the country as we begin a new term with the new president.”
At the conclusion of Barretts's hearing, a hug was exchanged between Feinstein and Chairman Lindsey Graham which gained negative attention.
"Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you. 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," Feinstein said to Graham. "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."
"I know we have very different views about the judge and whether we should be doing this or not," Graham replied. "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."