NARAL Calls for Feinstein’s Ouster from Judiciary Committee after Supreme Court Hearings

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 15, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

One of the nation’s top abortion groups is calling for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) to be ousted from her position as the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member after she praised the confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, calling them “one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in.”

The head of NARAL Pro-Choice America issued a scathing statement on Friday, a day after the last day of hearings on Barrett’s nomination concluded.

“Americans — whose lives hang in the balance — deserve leadership that underscores how unprecedented, shameful and wrong this process is,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. “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.”

On Thursday, Feinstein thanked Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) for his “fairness” in leading the hearings.

“Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you,” the California senator said. “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 of perhaps some goo bipartisan legislation we can put together to make this great country even better, so thank you so much for your leadership.”

Feinstein and Graham shared a hug after Feinstein’s remarks and as Thursday’s hearing concluded. Feinstein has said she will vote against Barrett’s confirmation.

During the four days of confirmation hearings, Democrats, including Feinstein, frequently quizzed Barrett about her stance on abortion rights and asked whether she thought Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide, was wrongly decided.

“I completely understand why you are asking the question, but I cannot pre-commit or say yes, I am going in with some agenda, because I am not,” Barrett responded when Feinstein asked her whether she considered Roe wrongly decided.

NARAL fought Barrett’s nomination vehemently, arguing that her confirmation to the high court would threaten abortion rights and could also jeopardize the Affordable Care Act.

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