At 51-49, the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate, but one Democrat senator could be squandered their advantage.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California who is 89 years old, has been MIA for a number of reasons, which has made it difficult for President Joe Biden to nominate new justices and complicated the rest of his program, according to The Conservative Brief.
By the end of March, the president and Democrats had 118 judges confirmed, putting an end to the huge number of judicial nominations made by former president Donald Trump. But, Sen. Feinstein's disappearance put a stop to the judicial nominees.
In March, Reuters reported that “only two candidates for lifetime positions as judges appeared before [the House Judiciary Committee] for its first judicial nominations hearing in five weeks, even though two of President Joe Biden’s other nominees were pending long enough to appear before it too.”
The New Republic reported that Dianne Feinstein, the 89-year-old senior senator from California, allegedly underwent shingles surgery last month, necessitating repeated markup sessions to be postponed by Democrats, who now hold a one-seat majority on the Judiciary Committee.
According to a recent Bloomberg article, the Judiciary Committee "also missed three more opportunities to organize such sessions in March due to Feinstein's absence and Durbin's when he contracted Covid-19.
Several candidates who were prime for markups were unable to receive votes because of delays. On Monday, Durbin conceded that Feinstein's absence had "of course" affected Democrats' ability to pick judges.
This must change. That is also readily resolved, similar to Durbin's continual unexplained respect to blue slips.
Feinstein ought to vacate her position immediately. In actuality, it's long past due for her to call it a day in her professional life. There have been more and more worries in recent years that she is no longer capable of performing the duties of a U.S. senator.
According to Politico, there was "widespread" concern among Democrats in December 2020 that Feinstein was beginning to falter, which is natural given her advanced age. Feinstein is the senior senator and has been in office since 1992.
The 87-year-old regularly "gets confused by reporters' queries, or will deliver various responses to the same issue depending on where or when she is questioned," according to aides and other senate workers, who told Politico that she seems "frail."
“Dianne Feinstein has missed 58 Senate votes in the last month because of illness/being 89 years old. Biden can’t confirm any federal judges without all Dems present on the Judiciary Committee. She’s given no indication of a return date,” one Twitter user said.
“Now that she is my Senator I finally feel even more emboldened to say: RESIGN. Do you know how many lifetime-appointed judges Trump was able to push through (like the one who just invalidated the FDA approval of mifepristone)? This is an emergency,” she said.