Feinstein has been absent from the upper chambers since February amid health complications. After an outcry from Democrats, she asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to replace her on the Judiciary Committee temporarily so that they can continue appointing President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.
"Republicans should not assist Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s most radical nominees to the courts," Cotton tweeted with an article about the Feinstein predicament.
Republicans should not assist Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s most radical nominees to the courts. https://t.co/Dq7DFfojVi— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 15, 2023
Cotton sits on the Judiciary Committee, and his remarks likely foreshadow GOP resistance to approving a temporary replacement.
Democrats have been wildly successful at pushing through Biden's judiciary nominations. At the two-year mark, Biden clinched 100 nominations, eclipsing former President Donald Trump's 85 and former President Barack Obama's 67.
But Feinstein's health-related absence has ground that progress to a halt. At 89, Feinstein has been absent from the upper chambers due to shingles. She announced that she will not seek reelection for her seat in 2024, setting the stage for a competitive primary.
Recently, Democrats have turned up the pressure on Feinstein to step down due to her prolonged absence. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ripped some of those calls, noting that Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who was similarly absent due to treatment for depression, has not received the same pressure.
"This is why Americans think DC is broken. Anonymous quotes attacking me for stating an obvious truth. Funny — they claim I have no influence, but 2 hours after my tweet Feinstein says she’s off judiciary. Stand with people, not the Beltway club," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who called for Feinstein to step aside, tweeted.
This is why Americans think DC is broken. Anonymous quotes attacking me for stating an obvious truth. Funny—they claim I have no influence, but 2 hours after my tweet Feinstein says she’s off judiciary. Stand with people, not the Beltway club. https://t.co/Kc8BSHkXKJ— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) April 14, 2023
To swap a senator with Feinstein, Schumer must amend the chamber's organizing resolution. Republicans will likely block that maneuver, which will mean Democrats likely need 10 defections from the GOP to break a filibuster.
The Senate is set to reconvene Monday when Fetterman is expected to make his return. The timeline for Feinstein's return is unclear.