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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 FeinsteinPence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate McConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade MORE (D-Calif.) to be replaced on the Senate Judiciary Committee after she called Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettSupreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline Trump fights for battleground Arizona Supreme Court won't fast-track GOP bid to block Pennsylvania mail ballot extension 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 KavanaughVermont official asks Kavanaugh to correct claim about state's voting procedures Supreme Court won't fast-track GOP bid to block Pennsylvania mail ballot extension Pence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate MORE’s confirmation hearings in 2018.

After Barrett’s hearings concluded on Thursday, Feinstein was spotted hugging Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLate donor surges push election spending projections to new heights Pence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate Wall Street backed Biden campaign with million in 2020 cycle: report 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.