Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been asked to step down from the Senate Judiciary Committee by Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She made the request after Schumer’s unfortunate absence due to a shingles infection. However, her compromise to be temporarily taken off of the committee while she recovers from the illness met with resistance from Democratic Congress members who called for her resignation. The move was necessary after the backlog in the judicial confirmation process caused by Feinstein’s inability to attend the hearings.
Feinstein acknowledged that the delay could result from her absence, and thus, she requested that another Democratic senator temporarily take her place on the Judiciary Committee until she resumed her committee work. Additionally, concerns were raised that the California senator had missed nearly 60 Senate votes during her time away. Democratic representatives, Ro Khanna and Dean Phillips, agree that it was time for her to resign.
Feinstein has acknowledged that her illness has been prolonged, and that she would be able to return to the Senate as soon as her doctors allow. She announced in February that she would not seek another term in office in the next elections. The decision to step down from the committee may be a temporary one, but there are now concerns about how long she will be away from her duties.
The Democrats’ eagerness to push through a replacement is not surprising. The committee chairman, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, expressed concern about his inability to have a markup of new judge nominees until Feinstein returns. It is time for the Democrats to put the country ahead of personal loyalty; it is evident that Feinstein can no longer fulfill her duties. Her impact on the country is “immeasurable,” but for the sake of upholding their credibility, she should resign immediately.