The implications of Senator Feinstein's passing
Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics:
What are the implications of the death of US Senator Dianne Feinstein?
Senator Dianne Feinstein died this week at age 90. She was the longest serving female senator in history and a former mayor of San Francisco who was a trailblazer for women in politics in the United States. She had been sick for a little while, leading to calls from fellow Democrats for her to step down from her seat and allow somebody younger to take over both the Senate seat from California and her coveted seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And after she announced her intention to retire this year, a number of California Democrats stepped up and said they were going to run for her seat. Governor Gavin Newsom, who clearly has national ambitions beyond California, has said he wants to fill her slot with an African-American and has said he intends to stay out of the primary race, which has caused some challenges for him, given that one of the candidates in the race is hoping to get a little benefit from being appointed to the seat.
One of the biggest questions is who will get her slot on the Judiciary Committee, which is now evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. If the slot isn't filled, then none of Biden's judicial nominees will be able to get out of the committee and get on to the floor. And while some Republicans have indicated that they are inclined to allow Democrats to fill the seat, not every Republican wants to do so because by blocking that seat from being filled, they can block all of Biden's judges.
So this could be an impasse that lasts for potentially a few weeks until there's likely to be a floor vote which would then appoint somebody new. But that could be one of the controversies coming out of this death.
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