Even as a senior stateswoman who has used her power in D.C. over the past several decades to push for progressive causes, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has come under attack from some in her own party for a moment of bipartisanship on the Senate floor this week.
The controversy arose after video footage began to circulate that showed her hug Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) following the conclusion of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings. In response, some Democrats want her replaced as a Democratic Party leader on the committee.
“Time for Sen. Feinstein to step down”
Among those critics is former Obama administration staffer Brian Fallon, who currently serves as the executive director of Demand Justice.
“It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to step down from her leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” he said, according to The Hill.
He went on to reference the senator’s dismissive reception last year of young activists from the Sunrise Movement, which advocates for environmental legislation including the Green New Deal, as further evidence of his point.
“If Senate Democrats are going to get their act together on the courts going forward, they cannot be led by someone who treats Sunrise activists with contempt and the Republican theft of a Supreme Court seat with kid gloves,” Fallon complained.
“I’m afraid I agree”
“Diane Feinstein praising Barrett, and then inexplicably praising Graham, is a clear sign that she should not remain as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee,” he wrote.
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe retweeted that message and added one of his own: “I’m afraid I agree, much as I like Sen. Feinstein personally and admired her work years ago.”
For the record, the senator’s kind words toward Graham included her assertion that the previous hearings had been the best she had ever participated in and an expression of gratitude for his fairness.
“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,” she said. “Thank you so much for your leadership.”
Given the reaction by her own party to this simple act, however, it appears the chances of any bipartisanship are increasingly slim.