Ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee battle over President Donald Trump’s soon-to-be third Supreme Court nominee, Democratic senators have reportedly started to worry that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 87, the ranking member of the judiciary committee, may botch the hearings to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court.
“She’s not sure what she’s doing,” a Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Politico. “If you take a look at Kavanaugh, we may be short two senators because of that. And if this gets [messed] up, it may be the same result.”
According to Politico, two other Democratic senators have expressed concerns, both also on the condition of anonymity, about Feinstein botching the committee hearing.
“She can’t pull this off,” said another Democratic senator, while yet another reportedly told Politico that the Democratic leadership were in “an impossible position” because they couldn’t risk the optics of having to replace her.
Feinstein told Politico in an interview that she was “surprised and taken aback” by suggestions she was incapable of serving in her role, saying “my attendance is good, I do the homework, I try to ask hard questions. I stand up for what I believe in.”
“Let me say this — I know it’s going to be a fight. I understand that,” said Feinstein, reports the news agency. “I don’t have a lot of tools to use, but I’m going to use what I have. We can try to delay and obstruct but they can run this process through. That doesn’t mean that we won’t fight tooth and nail.”
Furthermore, Politico reports:
Feinstein sometimes gets confused by reporters’ questions, or will offer different answers to the same question depending on where or when she’s asked. Her appearance is frail. And Feinstein’s genteel demeanor, which seems like it belongs to a bygone Senate era, can lead to trouble with an increasingly hard-line Democratic base uninterested in collegiality or bipartisan platitudes.
The attacks against Feinstein come after the long-time California senator has refused to endorse an abolition of the filibuster.
“Well, I don’t believe in doing that, I think. I think the filibuster serves a purpose,” Feinstein told reporters, according to The Hill. “I think it’s part of the Senate that differentiates itself.”
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) has previously said he’s leaning toward abolishing the filibuster, and in the past, Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has previously said she would support abolishing the filibuster to pass the Green New Deal, reports CNN.
In a eulogy for the late Congressman John Lewis, former President Barack Obama called the filibuster a “Jim Crow relic” and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) later advocated for its end, citing the former president’s eulogy.
“President Obama is absolutely right,” said Sanders in a statement at the time. “It is an outrage that modern-day poll taxes, gerrymandering, I.D. requirements, and other forms of voter suppression still exist today.”