CNN reported this week that Republicans are seeking to prevent Democrats from replacing Dianne Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein has been absent from her seat since coming down with shingles last month.
While Feinstein has already faced calls from her fellow Democrats to step down, those demands may grow into a full-fledged revolt.
Frustration is building over the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee is unable to hold confirmation hearings on 12 of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.
CNN explained that Democrats would need the approval of 60 senators in order to force the longtime California lawmaker to vacate her seat. However, Republicans have thus far been adamant that they won't go along with the plan.
"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 Mitch McConnell was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn agreed, telling CNN, "I don’t think Republicans can or should help President Biden’s most controversial nominees."
"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," he added.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is taking a hard line as well. He told CNN that Republicans will probably not support replacing Feinstein even if she were to step down.
"I don’t think Republicans are going to lift a finger in any way to get more liberal judges appointed, so whether she’s resigned or leaves temporarily from the Judiciary Committee, I think we will slow walk any process that makes it easier to appoint more liberal judges," Romney declared.
There have been concerns for some time about whether Feinstein is fit to serve in the Senate, a fact which the San Francisco Chronicle detailed in an article last year.
"I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea," one unnamed Democratic lawmaker told the paper before adding, "All of that is gone."
Meanwhile, California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna said in a tweet last week that Feinstein needs to go, stating, "It’s time for [Sen. Feinstein] to resign."
"We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people," Khanna insisted.
It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign. We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) April 12, 2023