As U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein continues to recover from a case of shingles and its complications, some fellow Democrats are calling for her resignation, citing concerns about her ability to fulfill her duties in the Senate. Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress at 89, has asked to be temporarily replaced on the Judiciary Committee.
The senator’s absence has raised concerns among Democrats who worry that the confirmation process for President Joe Biden’s federal court nominees could be hampered in a closely divided chamber. California Rep. Ro Khanna, one of the Democrats calling for Feinstein’s resignation, stressed the importance of confirming judges who will uphold reproductive rights in the current political climate.
Feinstein, who announced in February that she would not seek reelection in 2024, has faced questions about her cognitive health and memory in recent years. However, she has defended her ability to represent California effectively. With several Democrats already launching Senate campaigns to succeed Feinstein, her potential early departure could significantly impact the race. If she were to resign, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom would be responsible for filling the vacancy, which could give the appointed candidate an advantage in the competition.
Despite the calls for resignation, some Democratic leaders, including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, have expressed appreciation for Feinstein’s support of Biden’s judicial nominees and her commitment to public service. Jean-Pierre also conveyed the President and first lady’s wishes for Feinstein’s speedy recovery.
Throughout her career, Feinstein has been a trailblazer in breaking gender barriers, serving as the first woman to head the Senate Intelligence Committee and the first female mayor of San Francisco. Her pragmatic approach has left a mark on political battles over issues such as abortion and environmental protection.