An amazing thing happened in Washington this week. Democrats have learned something. Wise party and elected heads realized how their public unfair persecution of the last Supreme Court nominee hurt them and helped Brett Kavanaugh. Not to mention not doing them any favors with voters or with now Justice Kavanaugh. So at the end of these hearings Thursday the Republican and Democrat Judiciary Committee chiefs had a lovefest. No literally, Graham and Feinstein hugged.
“Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you,” Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein of California told committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Thursday. “This has been one of the best Senate hearings that I’ve participated in, and I want to thank you for your fairness and the opportunity of going back and forth.”
Graham, Republican of South Carolina, replied: “I know we have very different views about the judge and whether we should be doing this or not. But having said all that, to my Democratic colleagues, you have challenged the judge, you have challenged us, and I accept those challenges as being sincere and not personal.” Then came the hug. For real, they hugged.
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 15, 2020
A lot of it was that the Democrats knew from the beginning they had lost this. So they never put up much of a fight, especially not a against a woman and a Catholic this close to an election.
Feinstein herself Wednesday even told Barrett, “I’m really impressed, thank you,” in response to a description of the law Barrett would take into account in any constitutional challenge to Obamacare. This odd display of adult behavior in DC went over very well with most of Washington and the country.
“I think that the hearings went well for Judge Barrett. When she answered questions, her responses were generally clear and articulate and she displayed a broad command of constitutional law and statutory interpretation,” said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. “Moreover she seemed respectful of senators, even when they asked questions that may have been out of bounds or seemed to be grandstanding or trying to profit politically from the hearings.” Yeah, Hirono.
Not everyone was pleased as punch. Leftist group Demand Justice, which opposes all Trump judicial nominees with unintentionally hilarious dystopian agitprop, called on Feinstein to quit her post as Judiciary Committee ranking member over her hug of Graham and generally acting like a responsible grownup.
“It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to step down from her leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If she won’t, her colleagues need to intervene. She has undercut Democrats’ position at every step of this process, from undermining calls for filibuster and Court reform straight through to thanking Republicans form the most egregious partisan power grab in the modern history of the Supreme Court.”
But for once left extremists and the press were the outliers. The hearings almost seemed from an earlier epoch, perhaps from the early 1960s and the last time adults ruled America. Or maybe the Democrats will take the loss on Barrett because they happily expect to gain the White House. We’ll see.