As a contentious week of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett wrapped up Thursday, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee had little to offer but praise.
“This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “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."
If that wasn’t enough to anger Democrats — who have spent this week trying to paint Barrett’s nomination process as a sham — Feinstein also thanked the committee’s chair, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), and then walked across the room to wrap him in a hug.
Never mind that neither senator was wearing a face mask. Many Democrats were so much more incensed about what that hug symbolized — a final white flag, a compliment for Graham after a comparatively tame week of questioning — that, hours later, at least two liberal activist groups called for Feinstein to go.
“It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to step down from her leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, said in a statement. “If she won’t, her colleagues need to intervene.”
His organization, which opposes conservative judicial nominees, accused the senator of undermining liberals’ calls for a filibuster and court reform, “straight through to thanking Republicans” for what it called “the most egregious partisan power grab” in the high court’s modern history