The plan to replace Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, on the Senate Judiciary Committee is facing growing protest from Republicans. Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, is the most recent to express her dissent, tweeting, “I will not go along with [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer’s plan to replace Senator Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee and pack the court with activist judges.”
President Joe Biden has been pushing for the advancement of judicial nominees and Feinstein’s absence from Capitol Hill due to her shingles diagnosis is holding up that process. Schumer proposed to temporarily replace Feinstein while she recovers.
But Blackburn and Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR, have both expressed their opposition to the plan, citing their refusal to rubber stamp Biden’s “unqualified and controversial judges”.
The Senate is narrowly divided, meaning that if unanimous consent cannot be reached, the measure would require 60 votes to pass. At least 10 Republicans would have to join Democrats and independents to approve the swop.
Schumer said he hopes to speak with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, about a possible replacement and expressed his wish to put forward a resolution this week.
Feinstein is the Senate’s oldest member at 89 and her mental fitness has been called into question. In February, she announced she would not seek re-election in 2024 and three prominent House Democrats have since declared their candidacy for her seat.
The Tennessee Republican is not the only one to voice her opposition to the replacement plan. Both Blackburn and Cotton are members of the Judiciary Committee, and Cotton tweeted, “Republicans should not assist Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s most radical nominees to the courts.”
The majority leader has expressed his hope that Republicans will see the need to fill the seat while Feinstein recovers and join with Democrats to push the resolution through. However, it remains to be seen whether the GOP will be willing.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.