Democrats Struggle to Cope as Senate GOP Throws Wrench in Feinstein 'Replacement' Plan

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP

As RedState previously reported, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s prolonged absence from the Senate has caused major headaches for Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), especially on the issue of herding Joe Biden’s radical judicial nominees through the Judiciary Committee.


Feinstein is a member of the committee, and her ongoing battle with the shingles virus has left it at a 10-10 Democrat/Republican tie since late February and with no end in sight.

As a result, three things have happened: Feinstein has faced growing calls from some of her fellow California Democrats including some in the House to resign before her term expires, Democrat infighting has commenced with thinly-veiled accusations of sexism coming from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Feinstein has issued a statement asking Schumer to temporarily replace her on the Judiciary Committee until she is able to return.

Though Schumer has declared that he intends to try and do just that this week, Senate Republicans including some of the more moderate ones as well as several on the Judiciary Committee have made it clear they aren’t going to play along with Schumer’s plan and in the process set a bad precedent going forward:

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.

Kennedy said he’d take Feinstein at her word she’ll be back soon.

“I will vote against any attempt by Senate Democrats to temporarily replace Sen. Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee,” Tillis, who is often seen as among the more bipartisan senators, tweeted. “I deeply respect Senator Feinstein, but this is an unprecedented request solely intended to appease those pushing for radical, activist judges.”

And Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), two of the most moderate Republicans in the chamber, may have put the nail in the coffin of the effort, though for a different reason than some others.

“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.


Schumer said Monday that he’d spoken to Feinstein and that she expects to “return soon” but that in the meantime he believed Republicans “should allow a temporary replacement” because it’s supposedly the “right and fair thing to do“:

Schumer’s second in command and Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) tried to play the “decency” card on Republicans in an effort to get them to agree to temporarily replace Feinstein:

“Tomorrow, this could happen to the Republicans and they could find themselves in a vulnerable position through no fault of their own,” Durbin said Monday. “And I hope that they’ll show a little kindness and caring for their colleagues.”


Describing Feinstein as currently in “a delicate part of her life and her Senate service,” Durbin said Republicans should “stand by her and give her a dignified departure from the committee.”

It’s not gonna happen, and they know it. Republicans, even the more “bipartisan” ones Democrats normally rely on to get them out of jams like this one, are not going to comply because they know what the real goal is here and that’s to permanently replace Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee– and with that, conveniently, being the only committee they seek to replace her on.


If the shoe was on the other foot here, the Democrats would take the same position Republicans have and not budge on it, so I’m happy to see even some of the more milquetoast GOPers like Collins and Murkowski say they won’t join in on the Democrats’ reindeer games.

Because while Feinstein’s absence presumably will only be temporary, judicial appointments are long-term, with their impacts having the potential to span generations. Republicans are right not to allow emotional arguments from Schumer and Durbin to persuade them on this sensitive topic, because too much is at stake to do anything outside of playing hardball.

Flashback: Chuck Schumer Fans the Flames When Asked About ‘Confidence’ in Dianne Feinstein’s Cognitive Abilities


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