Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer trying to temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Schumer, on April 18, tried to pass a resolution by unanimous consent that would have put Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) on the committee pending Feinstein’s return from her weeks-long absence due to shingles. With Graham’s objection, the move would require 11 Republicans to join the remaining 50 available Democrats. Without Feinstein, the Democrats control the Senate, 51-49.
“Few have left their mark on this country like our dear friend, Sen. Dianne Feinstein,” said Schumer ahead of asking for the unanimous consent.
In objecting to Schumer’s request, Graham said that while he wishes Feinstein a “speedy recovery and return back to the Senate,” he decried Schumer’s attempt being “about a handful of judges that you can’t get the votes for.”
Usually, committee assignments, which are finalized via resolution, get green-lit by the Senate by unanimous consent and very little fanfare.
However, the GOP said no to Schumer’s maneuver.
“The stated reason, the supposed emergency, is that Senate Democrats are unable to push through the small fraction of their nominees who are so extreme and unqualified that they cannot win a single Republican vote,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor.
“Senate Republicans will not take part in sidelining a temporarily absent colleague off a committee just so Democrats can force through their very worst nominee,” McConnell added.
McConnell was joined by other Republicans in the chamber.
“I will vote against any attempt by Senate Democrats to temporarily replace Sen. Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee. I deeply respect Senator Feinstein, but this is an unprecedented request solely intended to appease those pushing for radical, activist judges. This is especially concerning as Senate Democrats seek to end the bipartisan blue slip process so they can bypass advice and consent with home state senators and ram through left-wing judges,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) posted on Twitter on April 17.
“Sen. Feinstein has been an extraordinary senator and she’s a good friend of mine. During the last two years, there’s been a concerted campaign to force her off the judiciary committee, and I will have no part of that,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
“I don’t think there is any appetite on our side to help what we consider to be controversial or unqualified nominees to get confirmed,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
There are currently 77 federal judicial vacancies with 35 nominees awaiting confirmation. President Joe Biden got 97 judges confirmed in his first two years as president.
Feinstein, 89, has been in the Senate since 1992 and recently announced she will not run for reelection in 2024.
Although the Senate Judiciary Committee, without Feinstein, is deadlocked 10–10, Schumer could hypothetically bring up the judicial nominees without having them being voted on in the committee as long as no Democrats join all Republicans in opposition. Committee votes on nominees, judicial and otherwise, are not constitutionally required. While there is the committee tradition of the “blue slip” from the senators of a nominee’s home state, it is not a requirement.
From The Epoch Times