Major abortion rights group calls for Democrats to replace Feinstein on Judiciary Committee

Major abortion rights group calls for Democrats to replace Feinstein on Judiciary Committee
© Greg Nash

NARAL Pro-Choice America is calling for Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinRepublicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Calif.) to be replaced on the Senate Judiciary Committee after she called Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettNew Hampshire state representative leaves GOP over opposition to vaccine mandate Barrett: Supreme Court 'not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks' To infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? MORE’s confirmation hearings “the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in.”

“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 Friday. "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."

Many Democrats and progressive groups argue that Barrett’s nomination and confirmation hearings are “illegitimate” because the election is just weeks away and millions of people have already voted.

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Demand Justice, a progressive group that often challenges the Democratic establishment, called for Feinstein to step down earlier this week. But Friday's calls from NARAL were a surprise from an organization that typically aligns itself with Democratic leaders.

NARAL and other abortion rights groups have been the fiercest opponents of Barrett’s nomination, arguing her confirmation to the court would endanger Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established a woman’s right to abortion. They also worry about how Barrett would rule on a pending case that could result in the overturning of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Feinstein, 87, has been a target of progressives who demand new Democratic leadership, especially as it appears more likely that Democrats could win back the Senate majority in November.

Feinstein has signaled opposition to nixing the legislative filibuster, and she has been criticized for her handling of Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughRepublicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Why isn't Harris leading the charge against the Texas abortion law? MORE’s confirmation hearings in 2018.

After Barrett’s hearings concluded on Thursday, Feinstein was spotted hugging Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses MORE (R-S.C.), who is in a tough reelection battle.

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"Thank you for your fairness and opportunity of going back and forth. It leaves one with a lot of hopes," Feinstein said.

Feinstein has said she will vote against Barrett’s confirmation.

Jordain Carney contributed.