The uproar over Dianne Feinstein is getting ugly

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Longstanding questions about Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s age and whether she’s able to continue serving effectively in the Senate exploded this week after multiple news stories documented how her extended absence is holding up judicial nominations in the Senate.

Feinstein, who is 89, is presently on leave from the Senate due to a case of shingles. She’s been away from the Senate since early March, and it’s not yet clear when she’ll be back. In a statement shared Wednesday evening, Feinstein noted that her return has been delayed due to “complications related to my diagnosis.” In the interim, she’s said she’ll work remotely and have another Democrat serve in her stead on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Judges are a huge priority for Democrats this term, particularly since the Senate can confirm them unilaterally without needing the support of a Republican House. It’s also a vital long-term issue for the party, given how former President Donald Trump stacked the courts with conservative judges, and Democrats are now trying to keep up a similar pace. Feinstein’s absence has meant the Senate Judiciary Committee doesn’t have the majority it needs to quickly advance judges.

The growing concern about judicial appointments prompted some Democrats — including Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Dean Phillips (D-MN) — to call for Feinstein not just to step aside but to resign now. Feinstein has not indicated that she plans to step down at this time and said she intends to return upon her recovery.

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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!