There are choices and consequences. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), soon-to-be-ex-ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, found that out pretty quick in the aftermath of the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Barrett was easily confirmed. She sailed through the committee and is now Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She fills the vacancy left by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and solidified a solid 5-4 conservative majority on the Court. The Left wanted a fight. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wanted a fight, but that didn’t happen.
Schumer thought the nomination would be unpopular. It wasn’t. In fact, by the end of it, ACB’s numbers pointed pretty clearly that she was going to get confirmed. She was simply too smart and too qualified to be torpedoed by the Left. There was the issue about her Catholic faith, but Democrats were careful with this voter bloc so close to an election. In an off-year nomination fight, ACB’s Catholic faith would have been attacked and mocked by these people.
Still, behind the scenes, people thought Dianne was too weak to quarterback the offensive. The picture of her embracing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also didn’t bode well with progressives. There was no fight to be had. Nothing. Amy Coney Barrett was going to be confirmed, and there really was nothing Democrats could do. Now, Feinstein announced she was stepping down as ranking member come next Congress (via Politico):
Sen. Dianne Feinstein plans to step down as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The 87-year-old California Democrat faced blowback from progressives for her handling of Amy Coney Barrett’s contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings, particularly after praising Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for his handling of the process and giving him a hug.
After the hearings, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he had a “long and serious” talk with Feinstein. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is next in line for the job, followed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
NEWS from @SenFeinstein: “After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress. “
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) November 23, 2020
Yes, that “long and serious” talk did not bode well for her. And Schumer’s refusal to defend the top Senate Democrat only added more intrigue as to what her fate was going to be. Well, it looks like she got the axe, though one could argue this date of execution was a long time coming post-ACB.