Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) confirmed on Monday that she will step down from her longtime position as Democrat leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 117th Congress.
Feinstein received major backlash from the left due to her handling of now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, with a number of pundits suggesting during that process that it was time for the 87-year-old Senator to step aside.
“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to serve as a senior Democrat on the Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules committees as we work with the Biden administration.”
Barrett’s confirmation process was rapid and seamless, and leftists were incensed by Feinstein’s failure to stall the process or throw Barrett’s character under the bus in a manner similar to the treatment Justice Brett Kavanaugh received.
After Feinstein offered Graham — who has been characterized as the most reprehensible of humans by the media — an affable embrace on the Senate floor after Barrett’s official confirmation, dedicated partisans simply couldn’t allow her to retain her power any longer.
Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, issued a statement demanding Feinstein’s resignation from the Judiciary Committee, declaring that “Going forward, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee must be led by someone who will not wishfully cling to a bygone era of civility and decorum that Republicans abandoned long ago.”
The outcry from Fallon and many others like him quickly gained traction, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he would have a “long and serious” talk with Feinstein, though the details and results of that conversation were never disclosed.
Politico reported on Monday evening that Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) is next in line for the job, followed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Durbin has already announced his intention to seek the position in the 117th Congress.
“I intend to seek the top Democratic position on the Judiciary Committee in the 117th Congress,” said Durbin in a statement. “We have to roll up our sleeves and get to work on undoing the damage of the last four years and protecting fundamental civil and human rights.”