News and Commentary

Feinstein, Nine Other Senate Dems, Call For Barrett Confirmation Hearings To Be Delayed
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks during a business meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to ask Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearings whether she would refuse to take part in matters related to the election if she’s confirmed in time, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham (R-SC) in a letter Wednesday to delay the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, saying that the timeline as presented by Graham was “incompatible” with the Senate’s constitutional duty. 

“Now that Judge Barrett has formally been nominated, we write to object to the timeline you unilaterally laid out for consideration of her nomination, and we renew our objections to processing Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” wrote Feinstein in a letter signed by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats, which include Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). 

“The timeline for consideration of Judge Barrett’s nomination is incompatible with the Senate’s constitutional role. We again urge you to delay consideration of this nomination until after the presidential inauguration. The Senate and the American public deserve a deliberative, thorough process, and this falls far short,” said the letter. 

In late September, Graham said the Senate Judiciary Committee would formally begin confirmation hearings on Monday, October 12, with the questioning period beginning the following day. The South Carolina senator, who is vying for re-election, said he hopes to have Barrett out of the committee hearings process by October 26. 

The group of senate Democrats, however, said in the letter Wednesday that the current nomination timeline was a “sharp departure from past practice.” The letter continues: 

Specifically, the timeline you have set calls into question the following:

  1. The FBI’s ability to thoroughly vet the nominee and her background as part of the background investigation (BI) process;

  2. The production and review of documents that may bear on the nominee’s fitness for appointment to the Supreme Court;

  3. Adequate time to review the nominee’s entire record;

  4. Adequate time for questioning the nominee, including through the submission of written Questions for the Record (QFRs).

On the same day the Democrats sent the letter calling for the hearings to be delayed until after inauguration day, Graham’s office posted a video of him meeting with Barrett.  

“I think she’s one of the most qualified people who will ever be nominated to the Supreme Court,” said Graham in a meeting with Barrett. 

“I think she’s done everything anybody could hope a nominee for the Supreme Court would do in their life. You’ve lived an incredibly eventful life, you’re really good at everything you’ve chosen to do from being a law professor to being a law clerk to being a judge at the circuit level so I think you’re well-prepared,” he added. 

Graham has cautioned Democrats against trying to pull any stunts in the nomination hearings to derail Barrett’s chances, arguing that such tactics would backfire anyway. 

“It’s going to blow up in their faces big time,” Graham told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro of any derailment attempts back in late September, also adding: “If they continue this pattern of trying to demean this outstanding nominee, I think the American people will push back and push back hard.”

“Kavanaugh really did help Republicans pick up Senate seats because they went too far,” added Graham. 

At least one Democratic senator reportedly holds similar sentiments to Graham, telling Politico only days before Graham’s comments, on the condition of anonymity, that Democrats may have lost two senate seats because of how the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings were handled. 

Related: Senate Dems Toss Feinstein Under The Bus Ahead Of SCOTUS Battle: ‘She Can’t Pull This Off’ 

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