California Senator Dianne Feinstein is facing calls for her resignation after reports emerged that she had used her health issues to sway President Joe Biden’s judicial appointments.
Senator Feinstein is a crucial player in appointing federal judges and other government officials as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Early in March, Feinstein, age 89, was brought to the hospital with symptoms of shingles. The Democratic senator would miss two more Senate votes in 2023 before falling ill with the agonizing but otherwise non-fatal condition in February.
Since recuperating in San Francisco, Feinstein has not returned to Washington, D.C. Feinstein has missed 60% of the 82 Senate votes held in 2023, including 48% of the votes cast since March 7.
Concerns over Feinstein’s continued tenure have increased during the past few weeks. The veteran senator’s illness coincided with Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman’s decision to seek treatment for depression, reducing the Democrats’ Senate majority to 51 votes.
Despite not serving on the Judiciary Committee, Fetterman was absent from several crucial Senate votes. On or around April 17th, he will return to the Senate. If or when Feinstein will return to the nation’s capital is anyone’s guess.
The vice president, Kamala Harris, has stepped in as Senate president three times this year due to the absences of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Joe Fetterman, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The delay in confirming new Supreme Court justices has been cited by Democratic leaders as proof of why Senator Feinstein must resign.
There were 58 votes that Feinstein had to skip because she was sick; 25 were for judicial nominations, and 13 were for executive appointments.
On Monday, Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Feinstein’s absence is to blame for the committee’s inability to move quickly on judicial appointments. Since Feinstein isn’t there to break the tie, the committee is now tied at ten votes apiece. Durbin told CNN that he cannot “consider candidates under the current conditions.”
In response to Durbin’s comments, Jon Lovett, a former Obama speechwriter and co-founder of Crooked Media, suggested that Feinstein resign.
]Leader Charles Schumer should replace her on the Judiciary Committee.
Jezebel’s editor-in-chief, Laura Bassett, tweeted that Senator Dianne Feinstein “needs to go right now, not retire after the term” after retweeting an article on how Feinstein is holding up judicial appointments.
Senator Dianne Feinstein “continues to work from home in San Francisco as she recuperates,” Adam Russell, her spokesperson, told the Chronicle.