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Sheldon Whitehouse: Dianne Feinstein Should Not Resign No Matter What Because We Need Judges Confirmed

Sheldon Whitehouse: Dianne Feinstein Should Not Resign No Matter What Because We Need Judges Confirmed

“The fact is simple: if Senator Feinstein resigns, Mitch McConnell gets to decide whether Democrats have a Senate Judiciary majority.”

The situation involving California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has become an uncomfortable one for her fellow Democrats, some of whom have been calling on her to resign. Others have said Feinstein, who will turn 90 on June 22 and who has been in the Senate since 1992, has earned the right to end her career on her terms and that her desire, expressed through her staff, to serve her full term should be respected.

Others, however, have taken to saying the quiet part out loud about how regardless of her declining physical and cognitive health, Feinstein must remain in the Senate because Democrats need judges confirmed.

For instance, in a recent interview with the L.A. Times, former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told members of her party who were demanding Feinstein step down that they should be careful what they wish for because it would effectively mean a 10-10 stalemate on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Feinstein currently serves, until after the 2024 election:

She sees no guarantee that Republicans would allow another Democrat to replace the 89-year-old Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In fact, Boxer is convinced they would not.

“They’ve already showed their hand,” she said, by refusing to let a temporary replacement fill in while Feinstein recuperates from shingles and its severe side effects. “I think it speaks volumes to their lack of humanity.”

So it would be best, Boxer suggested, for Feinstein to remain until her intended January 2025 retirement date, staying on hand for critical votes when Democrats — who control the Senate by a bare 51-49 majority — need her.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to Senate norms, agreed with the sentiment expressed by Boxer but went a step further, pointing to Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the supposed reason why Feinstein could not and should not leave the Senate before her term is up:

Now one would think that with California Gov. Gavin Newsom being a Democrat, that appointing a temporary replacement for Feinstein would happen rather quickly. But if that happened, that person wouldn’t just automatically replace Feinstein on the committees on which she serves; they would also have to be voted on by the full Senate:

Senators are formally elected to standing committees by the entire membership of the Senate, but in practice each party conference is largely responsible for determining which of its members will sit on each committee.

Twice-failed Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton has also uttered similar arguments to Boxer’s and Whitehouse’s, except in her case she explained her position in her customary callous way:

“Here’s the dilemma: the Republicans will not agree to add someone else to the Judiciary Committee if she retires,” she continued, referencing Feinstein’s powerful committee membership.


“I want you to think about how crummy that is. I don’t know in her heart about whether she really would or wouldn’t, but right now, she can’t. Because if we’re going to get judges confirmed, which is one of the most important continuing obligations that we have, then we cannot afford to have her seat vacant.”

“If Republicans were to say and do the decent thing and say, well this woman was gravely ill, she had just lost her husband to cancer… of course we will let you fill this position if she retires. But they won’t say that,” she continued. “So what are we supposed to do? All these people pushing her to retire: fine, we get no more judges? I don’t think that’s a good tradeoff.” [emphasis mine]

So Clinton admits that Feinstein, who looked extraordinarily frail upon her return to the Senate and who is now being shielded from the press, was “gravely ill” over the last several of months with a condition (severe case of shingles) you don’t get over easily and on top of that has been suffering for over a year now over the loss of her husband to cancer—yet she still believes Feinstein should continue serving.

Let’s also not forget Feinstein’s rumored cognitive issues, which have continued upon her return to the Senate.

Case in point:

But that doesn’t seem to matter in the eyes of Democrats like Clinton, Whitehouse, and Boxer, all of whom apparently believe Feinstein should be dragged if necessary into the Senate Judiciary Committee because without her Biden’s more radical judicial nominees don’t make it to the Senate floor for a full vote.

And yet they want to lecture Republicans about “humanity” and “decency.” Just how much more cold-blooded can these people actually be?

As it turns out, just a little bit colder, as Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall demonstrated by essentially saying as long as Feinstein has a warm body and a pulse she should stay in the Senate:

I mean if you read between the lines, what these people are saying is that Dianne Feinstein’s health and well-being are secondary to woke Democrat nominees getting shoved through the Senate Judiciary Committee in part by someone who does not even remember being absent from the Senate for over two months and who had to be reminded by her handlers that she had, in fact, announced she wouldn’t be running for another term.

Whitehouse got blasted on the Twitter machine over his remarks, including by some who pointed out that Democrats could have resolved this problem by not putting Feinstein back on the Judiciary Committee the last go-around in the first place:

And though it goes without saying that Sen. Whitehouse is as duplicitous and hypocritical as they come, I would just like to point out that though a tied Senate Judiciary Committee is absolutely unacceptable in his view, a tied Supreme Court is perfectly okay in the event one of the conservative Justices needed to recuse themselves from a case due to alleged conflicts of interest under a farcical Whitehouse-pushed SCOTUS “ethics reform” package:

As to what McConnell would do if Feinstein did retire early, who knows? But my thought on this is that Republicans would be smart to ignore the rantings of the likes of Sheldon Whitehouse on this issue and proceed exactly as Sheldon Whitehouse and his fellow Democrats would if the shoe were on the other foot.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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What’s going on with Feinstein is macabre. The d/prog have known she was ailing for many years and still handed her a renewal of a seat on the Judiciary Committee. Eff them. It’s high time they pay the price of consequences and repercussions which was a favorite saying of my favorite Drill SGT.

Same for Fetterman and Biden. They knew and did it anyway b/c they always choose power over principles. They are trying to obscure the behind the scenes machinations of the d/prog diversity Olympics for her potential appointed replacement by Newsom by ….blaming the GoP for something that might happen. Eff them, they made their bed so no whining about its lack of comfort.

    Paul in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    And even if it does happen, f them. They never hesitate to exercise their power in the most blatant ways, yet they cry like little babies at the thought the same coming back their direction.

    The gloves came off a LONG time ago, it is way past time that the Republicans realize it and start fighting back accordingly.

    henrybowman in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    It’s like Feinstein as Capt. Christopher Pike, except that she doesn’t control her own flashing light, Chuck Schumer holds the remote.

    Well, if the Democrats had to find another elder to abuse for “more power,” they couldn’t have made a better choice. If they get to the point of submerging her in a bathtub, like a Minority Report precog, it’ll be even more delightful.

      The_Mew_Cat in reply to henrybowman. | June 20, 2023 at 2:08 pm

      Chucko Schmucko has the remote for Fetterman, so like a Chinese beckoning cat waving at you in a restaurant or massage parlor, he raises his paw when Chucko presses his button. So, Chucko gets 2 buttons to press for puppet senators.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    ““If Republicans were to say and do the decent thing”, when is the last time Dems have done anything other than indecent? Personally I am looking forward to doing the decent thing to Dems. Investigate, charge, and crucify.

      CommoChief in reply to JohnSmith100. | June 19, 2023 at 4:23 pm

      Maybe they did when Tip O’Neill and the gang would go drinking with Reagan? Clinton did eventually and admittedly under pressure, sign off on spending reductions bringing the budget into the black ever so briefly in the few years before 9/11.

Whitehouse, the epitome of a principled politician, and pompous to the core. As a public servant he’s a pretender, a rubber stamp who cares more for party than country.

caseoftheblues | June 18, 2023 at 1:01 pm

How is it possible the EVERY SINGLE democrat in congress gives not a single damn about their constituents, this country or it’s future…. EVERY …. Single … one!?!?!!

stevewhitemd | June 18, 2023 at 2:07 pm

The third alternative is never discussed: Senator Feinstein could resign, the Judiciary committee could be 10-10 for the remainder of the term, and the Dems and Pubs could — gasp! — agree to work together.

In that scenario, the Dems would put forward more moderate judicial nominees, and the Pubs would reasonable go along.

Apparently that’s too big a divide these days…

    CommoChief in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 18, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Sure but then the lefty ideologues couldn’t jam through slap crazy judicial nominees who are extreme by the standards of two minute ago. Instead the lefties would have to cooperate and make trade offs one of which would be to make the WH stop sending up woke weirdo extremists as nominees. They prefer the alternative which is blaming cocaine Mitch for a theoretical pre crime.

    leoamery in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 19, 2023 at 4:55 am

    Your alternative was tried ins 2016, when Obama nominated Scalia’s replacement. Moderate Merrick Garland. How well did that ‘moderate’ choice work out?

    In a 10-10 Judiciary committee, what does ‘working’ together’ mean? All nominations are considered in pairs with one Sam Alito balancing one KBJ? That might conceivably work for the District and Circuit Courts, but not for SCOTUS.

      wendybar in reply to leoamery. | June 19, 2023 at 6:02 am

      Thank GOD “moderate” Garland was kept away from that position. Not that the guy who doesn’t know what a woman is (won’t call her a woman, because she would be confused) is any better.

Halcyon Daze | June 18, 2023 at 2:55 pm

Has Rhode Island ever seen a legitimate vote tabulation?

henrybowman | June 18, 2023 at 3:17 pm

“If Republicans were to say and do the decent thing and say, well this woman was gravely ill, she had just lost her husband to cancer… of course we will let you fill this position if she retires. But they won’t say that,”

Aw! Those nasty, nasty, Repubwicans, never giving us evewyting we want!

Dianne Feinstein’s mind is already resigned. All that’s left is the shell.

    txvet2 in reply to Peabody. | June 18, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    She’s apparently only slightly less cognizant than Fetterman. The big difference is that she’s on Judiciary.

      Peabody in reply to txvet2. | June 18, 2023 at 7:06 pm

      The other difference is, it took Dianne Feinstein 89 years to reach her current condition while it took Fetterman only 53. Further, for an old lady, she dresses really nice, while Fetterman is a total sleazebag.

        diver64 in reply to Peabody. | June 19, 2023 at 3:18 am

        Dislike her immensely but at least she dresses with the style and decorum the Senate demands. Fetterman is just trash.

          The Gentle Grizzly in reply to diver64. | June 19, 2023 at 6:50 pm

          I wonder if Fetterman is even aware of how he is dressed? The poor man is just so blown out mentally. I am highly opposed to his positions, but thinking of him as a human being, I feel bad for him.

When Republicans win, they are in office. When Democrats win, they are in power.

They should have to stand and walk to the podium to cast votes – or wheel their chair down there. And address their constituents when they vote.

The problem is that if you ask the majority of Americans who Feinstein is they would have no idea or any idea what a Judiciary Committee is and how important it is. In fact, so few watch TV anymore or consume any media they don’t know Biden falls down and has no idea where he is, Feinstein is as infirm as she is or that Fetterman can’t get a sentence out.

One thing Democrats are GREAT at, is elder abuse, and THIS is elder abuse. Same with “Dr.” Jill, pushing her delusional husband to run again.

Pepsi_Freak | June 19, 2023 at 8:37 am

Fetterman, Feinstein, and FJB. To which we could add Mad Maxine and Hank (“Guam would tip over and capsize”) Johnson. Sure glad we have the Democrat Party to demonstrate how a Democracy works.

William Downey | June 19, 2023 at 8:51 am

Democrats are all about power and elder abuse.

If DF and JB were Republicans, Democrats would be screaming about mental incompetency.

sheldon whitehouse is a wannabe aristocrat who has never held a job. why is he even in the Senate? what is wrong with the people in his state?

Power is all that matters.

I think Sen. Dianne Feinstein should enter the Dem primary to take Joe’s place. Her campaign motto could be something like, “A lot like Joe, but minus Hunter.”

BierceAmbrose | June 22, 2023 at 3:57 pm

“The forms must be obeyed.”