GOP Blocks Cynical Schumer Move to Shove Biden Judges Through - Is This the End for Top Dem Senator?
It’s an open secret Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is mentally unfit to serve.
This has been more or less out in the open since 2020, when the then-87-year-old senator repeated a question verbatim to then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
This occasioned a thorough New Yorker piece in which numerous Democrats went off the record, saying the incident revealed her deteriorating mental state and it was time for her to step aside.
Other Democrats began going on the record saying as much in the two-and-change years since, and Feinstein has announced she’s not running for re-election in 2024 — although her aide had to tell her she’d announced the decision when she told a reporter she hadn’t made it yet. Whoops.
However, Feinstein didn’t step aside — and, more importantly, she didn’t give up her seat on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
The senator has been sidelined in California with a case of shingles, leaving the Democrats without a majority in the upper chamber and the Judiciary Committee deadlocked at 10-10 — meaning President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees can’t get out of committee.
According to Newsweek, she has missed 58 votes during her illness, 25 of which were for judicial nominees.
Feinstein, now 89, requested that she be temporarily replaced on the committee by Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin — a move cynically encouraged by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The Senate GOP blocked it Tuesday evening, however, and without the votes necessary to pass the resolution, the Democrats are in trouble.
“She’s a dear friend and we hope for her speedy recovery and return back to the Senate,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said after objecting to Schumer’s request for unanimous consent on a resolution to temporarily replace Feinstein, according to CNN.
“With all due respect, my colleague, Sen. Schumer, this is about a handful of judges that you can’t get the votes for,” Graham said.
Feinstein, who was hospitalized in March, made the request for a temporary replacement for her on the Judiciary Committee in a statement released April 12.
“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the March work period,” she said. “Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis.
“I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel. In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco.
“I understand that my absence could delay the important work of the Judiciary Committee, so I’ve asked Leader Schumer to ask the Senate to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily serve until I’m able to resume my committee work.”
On Tuesday, Schumer tried to make the best case for a temporary replacement so Biden’s nominees could get shoved through committee, painting Feinstein as a dear friend and a woman of many accomplishments.
“Today, I am acting not just as Leader but as Dianne’s friend, in honoring her wishes, until she returns to the Senate,” the New York Democrat said, according to a news release from his office.
“When someone as dear and as accomplished as Senator Feinstein asks us for something so important to her, we ought to respect it,” he said.
Right. Well, that didn’t work — and, as Newsweek noted, the failure will likely amp up interparty calls for Feinstein to step aside, period, full stop.
Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, an influential member of the so-called squad, said “yes” when asked by CNN on Monday if she should resign.
“She’s had a very long and stellar career, you know, but missing that many votes, stopping us from moving forward with our judge nominations,” he said.
Another New York member of the squad, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said Feinstein’s resignation is “unfortunately something that I think it is appropriate to consider.”
Ro Khanna — who is co-chairman of fellow California Rep. Barbara Lee’s campaign for the Senate seat when it gets vacated — was one of the first individuals calling for Feinstein to step aside, saying that if she can’t advance judicial nominees, she can “no longer fulfill” what she was elected to do.
Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips seconded the congressman’s statement, calling her decision to hang on “a dereliction of duty.”
I agree with @RoKhanna. Senator Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet. https://t.co/lvaHhLJYsi
— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) April 12, 2023
Expect those calls to grow louder over the coming days.
Yes, the Democrats will rip Graham and other Republicans for the move — but in the end, they’ll rip the person who deserves the ripping: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who hung on to power even though her diminishing mental state was clear to anyone in her orbit.
In other news, the 80-year-old Biden, whose mental fitness is less openly questioned than Feinstein’s is but is still very much a matter of open debate, keeps saying he plans to run for president again in 2024 — and his fellow liberals are mostly staying silent or backing him.
Insanity and membership in the Democratic Party, apparently, both involve doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
God forbid, if Biden gets re-elected and something like Feinstein’s hospitalization happens to the occupant of the Oval Office, expect the party to turn into something resembling “Lord of the Flies” — only played out on Capitol Hill, CNN and Twitter.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.