Senate Republicans won't replace Sen. Feinstein on Judiciary Committee unless she resigns

 April 24, 2023

Eighty-nine-year-old California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been absent from her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee since coming down with shingles last month.

While Democrats have sought to replace her, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham recently said he'll only support doing that if she resigns.

Feinstein's absence is preventing Democrats from confirming judges

According to The Washington Times, Graham made that declaration during a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

"I am very capable of supporting Democratic nominees, but there are four or five that just are out of the mainstream, and they want to replace Dianne Feinstein’s seat for the judges," Graham was quoted as saying.

"If she does resign, I would be in the camp of following the precedent of the Senate: replacing the person consistent with what we’ve done in the past," he added.

The Times noted how Feinstein's absence has meant that Democrats have been unable to confirm any of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.

Senate Republicans won't allow Feinstein to be replaced

However, CNN reported last week that Senate Republicans have been steadfast in their refusal to rectify the situation.

"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.

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn offered a similar take, 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 stressed.

Democrats worry about Feinstein's cognitive health

Members of Feinstein's own party have expressed concern for some time over whether or not Feinstein is fit to serve in the Senate, something 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."

California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna raised eyebrows earlier this month when he tweeted that Feinstein needs to go, stating, "It’s time for [Sen. Feinstein] to resign."

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