Barrett SCOTUS Hearings Complete, Feinstein Draws Sharp Criticism

Committee hearings for Barrett’s SCOTUS nomination have concluded, not without some controversy. What happened and what’s next?


The Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up a week of hearings on the nomination and confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court seat opened by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  • Despite the relative lack of fireworks, the hearings were not without controversy. While Senator Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee avoided divisive on-the-record remarks similar to Barrett’s 2017 hearings for the Seventh Circuit Court, she was caught in a “hot mic” moment. During a break in the hearing, Feinstein was heard discussing Barrett’s pro-life stances and its relation to her religious beliefs.
  • Several media outlets noted the “stark contrast” to the 2018 confirmation hearings of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, highlighting the “fairness” of the hearings according to Democratic Senators who have said they will oppose Barrett’s nomination nonetheless.
  • As the nomination winds its way through the Senate, Democratic Senate leaders have previously conceded it will be difficult to stop the eventual confirmation of Barrett. They say, however, they have succeeded in their goal of highlighting the consequences to healthcare and abortion rights with Barrett’s confirmation.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • As the hearing wrapped up, Senator Feinstein took a moment to thank Committee chairman Lindsey Graham for the “fairness and opportunity for the back and forth”. This has drawn sharp condemnation from voices on the left. The Los Angeles Times rapped Feinstein for not fighting harder before and during the confirmation hearings.
  • Local Democratic leaders in California stated the Senator “represents the past of San Francisco and California”, and she’s “failed in her leadership” on the committee.
  • Feinstein has faced calls from the left to resign from the Judiciary committee, saying her vocal appreciation for Sen Graham’s handling of the hearings was “appalling.”
  • Congresswoman Katie Porter, seen as an eventual successor to Feinstein in the Senate, joined in the criticism, saying she disagreed “strongly” that the hearings were “acceptable”.



  • Much of the commentary on the right focused on the internecine squabbles in the wake of Feinstein’s positive comments for Graham.
  • noted the reaction from and efforts to “cancel” Senator Feinstein for reasons unrelated to the Barrett hearings.
  • National Review reported Senator Feinstein’s post-hearing comments towards Graham were a change from her concerns at the beginning of the week.
  • Jonathan Tobin writes for The Federalist that the liberal criticism of Feinstein is “curious”, saying there was never any doubt the Senator would oppose Barrett’s nomination.


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© Dallas Gerber, 2020