Calls Increase For Sen. Dianne Feinstein To Resign Since Her Illness Is Hurting Democrats’ Ability To Confirm Judges

Dianne Feinstein

by William A. Jacobson at

Podcaster and former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett: Feinstein “is now preventing us from being able to confirm judges … She has to resign and more people should be calling on her to resign.”

That’s Ageist! and Ableist!

I’m referring to increasing calls for California Senator Dianne Feinstein to resign since she is missing so many Senate votes due to illness.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on Feinstein’s illness and absence:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has missed 58 Senate votes since getting sick in late February with the painful, but non-life-threatening shingles virus.

Her extended absence, along with that of Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman, has made it more difficult for the Senate to confirm President Biden’s nominees and pass legislation. The Senate has a 51-49 party split favoring Democrats, but the absence of multiple senators changes how many votes are needed for a measure to succeed. Vice President Kamala Harris has cast three tie-breaking votes this year in her role as president of the Senate.

Feinstein was hospitalized in early March for treatment and returned to her San Francisco home on March 7. She has not been in Washington, D.C., since the onset of the illness. She has missed 60 votes of the 82 taken in 2023 so far, including two prior to her illness.

CNN reports how this is interfering with Democrats’ ability to confirm judges:

The remarkable pace with which President Joe Biden has sought to remake the federal bench has been put into jeopardy by dual threats: Democratic Senate absences and a Senate rule that gives Republicans the ability to veto district court nominees for courts in their home states….

But even if Democrats wanted to push forward, the absence of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, away from Senate for several weeks with a case of shingles, stands in the way. Without Feinstein on the panel, the partisan breakdown is 10-10.

No date has been given for the 89-year-old Feinstein to come back to Washington.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin acknowledged to CNN that Feinstein’s absence has slowed down their push to confirm nominees.

“I can’t consider nominees in these circumstances because a tie vote is a losing vote in committee,” Durbin said.

Asked if her absence has longer ramifications on the Democrats’ ability to confirm nominees, the Senate chairman said “yes, of course it does,” pointing to the long process of getting nominees scheduled for votes during precious floor time.


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