Republicans Stand In The Way Of Dems Replacing Feinstein On Judiciary Committee


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are not going to assist the Democrats in replacing Democrat California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

President Joe Biden has been hampered in getting his judicial nominees approved because of Sen. Feinstein’s absence and Republicans are planning to block the Democrats from replacing her on the Judiciary Committee, CNN reported.

Democrats would need 60 votes to replace Feinstein on the panel, but senior Republicans in leadership and on the committee made clear Monday that they would not give them the votes to do that. The result: At least 12 nominees — and maybe more — could be stalled if Feinstein does not return soon.

The stakes are high for Democrats, who could see key agenda items thwarted – both on the committee and on the Senate floor – if they are unable to replace Feinstein and the California Democrat does not return to Washington soon.

“Senate Republicans will not take part in sidelining a temporary absent colleague off the committee just so Democrats can force through their very worst nominees,” Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell said.

And he was not the only Republican who took a stand against assisting the Democrats.

“I don’t think Republicans can or should help President Biden’s most controversial nominees,” Sen. John Cornyn said. “I support having Sen. Feinstein come back as soon as she can. But this effort to confirm controversial and in many instances largely unqualified nominees, I don’t think you can expect any Republican cooperation.”

“I don’t think senatorial courtesy will work to move liberal judges,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said to CNN.


Republican Sen. John Thune said that Democrats could be using this to increase the pressure of Feinstein to retire.

“The Dems are sort of using this because they want pressure on her to resign and I think this gives them… sort of a lever to do that,” the senator said.

“I will not go along with Chuck Schumer’s plan to replace Senator Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee and pack the court with activist judges,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn said.

“Republicans should not assist Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s most radical nominees to the courts,” Sen. Tom Cotton said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin warned Republicans that they could face the same issue and need the Democrats’ votes.

“The Republicans ought to think a little bit about what this means. Tomorrow, they could be facing exactly the same thing,” he said.

Democrats have been increasing their efforts to convince Sen. Feinstein to retire.

California Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and spoke with host Shannon Bream about having Sen. Feinstein retire so that California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom can appoint a replacement.

But Bream asked him if he had the same concerns about Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. John Fetterman who has spent more time in the hospital than he has in the Senate since he was elected.


“It’s one thing to take medical leave and come back. It’s another thing where you’re just not doing the job,” he said. “The reality here is the sense that you need to have a deference to these senators who served so long. How about a deference to the American people? How about an expectation that if you sign up to do one of these jobs, you show up?”

“This has to do with someone who is just not showing up, and I said out loud what people have been saying in private, and this is how the Beltway works. They don’t like it when you call out someone who’s in power, and that’s why people are unlikely to do it. But we’ve had so many calls from the American people and they say ‘Yeah, that’s right. If you’re gonna sign up to do these jobs, show up!’” he said.

On the other Sunday shows his fellow Democrats were having their feet held to the fire on the Sen. Feinstein issue.

On the CNN show “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper grilled New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on her stance.

“Senator, there are growing calls among Democrats for 89-year-old Dianne Feinstein to resign. She’s missed 60 votes over the last two months due to illness. Her absence is increasingly harming Democrats’ ability to confirm nominees, pass legislation,” the host said.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the last several years about her awareness, her cognitive abilities. Do you think it’s time for her to step down?” he said.

“Dianne Feinstein is an extraordinary senator, and she’s been a role model and a mentor to me my entire career,” the senator said.

“I sit with her on the Intelligence Committee. She asks some of the most searing, pointed questions of anyone on that committee. Her legacy and her depth of experience is valuable. And we have had so many senators who have had illnesses, whether it’s Mitch McConnell’s illnesses, or senators who have had strokes,” she said, an apparent reference to Sen. Fetterman

“These are issues that — we’re human. And we believe that a senator should be able to make their own judgments about when they’re retiring and when they’re not. And they all deserve a chance to get better and come back to work. Dianne will get better. She will come back to work.

“And she’s already told Senator Schumer that she can replace — that he can replace her on the Judiciary Committee if it’s urgent for these hearings for judges. She’s a team player, and she’s an extraordinary member of the Senate. It’s her right. She’s been voted by her state to be senator for six years. She has the right, in my opinion, to decide when she steps down,” she said.

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