As Republican opposition to temporarily replacing California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to grow, it’s become increasingly clear that Democrats are attempting to use her prolonged absence to their advantage and push through radical judicial nominees.
Feinstein has been away from the Senate since late February due to a case of shingles and her absence has left the Judiciary Committee deadlocked 10–10 and unable to pass partisan nominees along for floor votes. This has caused a major headache for Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) who, in a desperate attempt to push through President Biden’s most partisan judicial nominees, has called for Feinstein to be temporarily replaced on the committee until she is able to return.
However, Republicans including several moderates on the Judiciary Committee have made it clear they are not going to play along and have instead set a firm stance against allowing a temporary replacement.
“I, for one, am not going to help President Biden’s most unqualified nominees to get confirmed. I don’t think you’ll see us help in that effort,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R–Texas), a senior member of the panel and a key ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.).
At least five Republicans on the Judiciary Committee — Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), John Kennedy (La.) and Cornyn — all said they would oppose the effort to replace the longtime California Democrat or saw no reason to remove her.
Senate Democrats have tried to play the “decency” card on Republicans in an effort to get them to agree, but it has not worked. Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), two of the most moderate Republicans in the chamber, have said they will not join in on the Democrats’ reindeer games and have no intention of allowing the Democrats to use Feinstein’s absence for their own political gain.
“Sen. Feinstein has been an extraordinary senator and she’s a good friend of mine. During the last two years, there’s been a concerted campaign to force her off the judiciary committee, and I will have no part of that,” Collins said.
Chuck Schumer on replacing on Feinstein on committee: “We think the Republicans should allow a temporary replacement until she returns." pic.twitter.com/8CS0KdxJWu
— Public News DC (@PublicNewsDC) April 18, 2023