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Tell Chuck Schumer: Replace Dianne Feinstein as Senate Judiciary Ranking Member

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The petition to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer reads:

"Senate Democrats must do everything they can to block and resist Donald Trump, the white supremacist in chief. Dianne Feinstein has failed to use her power to fight Republican attempts to stack the federal courts with Trump’s extremist judges. Remove her as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and replace her with a Democrat who will commit to fully resisting Trump."

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    Tell Chuck Schumer: Replace Dianne Feinstein as Senate Judiciary Ranking Member

    It has never been clearer that Donald Trump is unfit to lead than in the last few weeks. He stood with the violent white supremacists and Nazis who terrorized Charlottesville, pardoned racist civil rights abuser Joe Arpaio and just ended DACA. 1,2,3

    Yet California’s senior Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, is holding out hope that “he can be a good president.”4

    With someone as openly racist, sexist and xenophobic as Trump in the White House, Senate Democrats’ job should be clear: Stand up for core progressive values, defend the people most threatened by Trump, and block and resist Trump’s hateful agenda. As ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein should have refused to help Trump pick a new FBI director and should be leading her caucus in an effective, organized opposition to Republican efforts to jam through Trump’s extreme right-wing judges for lifetime appointments. She is not doing her job and she needs to be replaced now by someone who will.

    Tell Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer: Senate Democrats must fight Trump on every front. Replace Dianne Feinstein as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    We depend on the federal courts to protect civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights and the environment. For the last eight years, Republicans – eager to shred the social safety net, roll back civil rights and advance corporate power – stalled and blocked the confirmation of President Obama’s nominees. Thanks to their obstruction, Trump has 136 vacancies to fill.5 Now, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving his nominees through as fast as they can. Democrats on the committee, led by Feinstein, could use their power to slow down these nominations, but they are not doing enough.

    Kevin Newsom, who was recently confirmed by the Senate, equated Roe v. Wade with the Dred Scott decision upholding slavery and stated his regret that the Supreme Court made it unconstitutional to execute juveniles.6 His nomination advanced out of the Judiciary Committee on an 18-2 vote with only Democratic Sens. Chris Coons and Al Franken opposing him. Judiciary Committee members Sens. Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal all voted to confirm Newsom in the full Senate. These votes help legitimize not only Trump’s administration but the white supremacy and extremism that are the highlights of his agenda.

    Last week, Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley scheduled a hearing to consider four judicial nominations.7 During Obama’s presidency, Republicans insisted on only one nominee per hearing, which helped slow down the process of confirming judges and create so many vacancies for Trump to fill. Now, Republicans are seizing their opportunity to take over the courts and stacking hearings in order to move more judges through as quickly as possible.8 Sen. Feinstein should be leading the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee in raising the alarm about what Republicans are doing and helping her colleagues do everything they can to slow them down. She has failed to do that, so Democratic Leader Sen. Schumer must replace her.

    Tell Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer: Senate Democrats must fight Trump on every front. Replace Dianne Feinstein as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Protecting the courts is the most urgent job for the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it is not the only way Sen. Feinstein is falling short. This summer, every Democrat on the committee – led by Feinstein – voted to recommend that the Senate confirm Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray.9 The Senate should have never allowed Trump to handpick a replacement for James Comey, whom Trump fired because Comey was leading an investigation that could have brought down his illegitimate adminstration. Democrats’ failure to fight the Wray nomination helped downplay the seriousness of Comey’s firing and the Russia investigation in general, and legitimized Trump’s ability to fire people who challenge him with no consequence.

    Sen. Feinstein has voted with Trump nearly 30 percent of the time since his inauguration.10 She voted to confirm nine of his cabinet nominees, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, known for his support of torture and his strident opposition to the Iran Deal.11 As a member of Congress, Pompeo advocated for illegal interrogation measures like waterboarding, and he reaffirmed that position in his written statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee before his confirmation.12 Pompeo is an ardent ally of Trump’s and there is no reason any Democrat should have voted to confirm him.

    Feinstein is not a Republican in a red state trying to appease her base. She is a Democrat in deep blue California that voted against Trump by an overwhelming 30-point margin.13 And as a senior member of both the Senate Judiciary and the Senate Intelligence Committees, she is one of the last Democratic members who should be giving Trump a pass.

    When CREDO members have demanded that Democrats stand up to Trump in the past, it has made a difference. As top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner was failing to call for an independent investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, but since CREDO and our allies called on him to step up, he has.

    Tell Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer: Senate Democrats must fight Trump on every front. Replace Dianne Feinstein as Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member.

    References:

    1. Jesse Berney, “Trump's Long History of Racism,” Rolling Stone, Aug. 15, 2017.
    2. Matt Ford, “President Trump Pardons Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio," The Atlantic, Aug. 25, 2017.
    3. Matthew Yglesias, “Trump isn’t delivering his own DACA policy because he’s cowardly and weak,” Vox, Sept. 5, 2017.
    4. John Wildemuth, “Feinstein surprises SF crowd by expressing hope for Trump,” San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 30, 2017.
    5. United States Courts, "Judicial Vacancies," Sept. 5, 2017.
    6. Kyle Barry, “The Strange Civil Rights Views of Trump’s Latest Court Nominees,” POLITICO Magazine, June 14, 2017.
    7. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “RESCHEDULED: Nominations,” accessed Sept. 5, 2017.
    8. Christopher Kang, “Chairman Grassley Rushes To Rubber Stamp Trump’s Judges, Discards Another Senate Norm, HuffPost, July 5, 2017.
    9. Matt Ford, “The Senate Overwhelmingly Confirms Christopher Wray as FBI Director," The Atlantic, Aug. 1, 2017
    10. FiveThirtyEight, “Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump,” Aug. 2, 2017.
    11. Wilson Andrews, “How Each Senator Voted on Trump’s Cabinet and Administration Nominees,” The New York Times, May 11, 2017.
    12. Ryan Browne, “Trump's pick for CIA says he's open to waterboarding,” CNN, Jan. 21 2017.
    13. FiveThirtyEight, "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump."

    Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images