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Tipsheet

Feinstein's Absence Doesn't Just Hurt Liberal Judges, It Helps Protect Conservative Ones

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool

Sen. Dianne Feinsten's (D-CA) absence has put Democrats in a tight spot when it comes to confirming judicial nominees, though, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reminded on Tuesday from the Senate floor, this applies to "the small fraction of their nominees who are so extreme, so extreme, and so unqualified, that they cannot win a single Republican vote in committee." Her absence not only threatens those particularly liberal nominees, it also helps protect conservative justices. 

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In her coverage of the position Democrats find themselves in, Sister Toldjah at our sister site of RedState shared an NBC News report detailing how majority members want to hold a hearing looking into Justice Clarence Thomas over financial disclosures, which he is amending. This comes after a ProPublica report published last week that has been heavily criticized

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is quoted discussing what steps the committee can take, and has "a number of things in mind." Expecting Justice Thomas to testify isn't something he's hopeful about though. "Of course, I would like to, but I don’t think it’s going to happen," he said when asked about speaking with the justice directly. 

That's looking even less likely given Feinstein's absence, "out of the question" even, and so it's going to have to be on Chief Justice John Roberts:

A Democratic aide noted that issuing a subpoena would require a majority vote by the committee, which the party doesn’t have with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., out indefinitely on medical leave. “So that option is out of the question,” the aide said.

Durbin said Democrats are putting the onus on Chief Justice John Roberts to “accept the responsibility of the court” to investigate Thomas’ conduct and make “a change in approach on ethics.”

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Republicans seem even less likely to go along with subpoenaing Thomas than they do helping Democrats name Feinstein's replacement on the committee. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had looked to name Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) to fill the role by unanimous consent, but was formally blocked by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who serves as ranking member on the committee. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has been particularly outspoken over Twitter about defending Justice Thomas. 

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted his support as well. Both are members of the committee.

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It's also worth remembering that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is on the committee, who is often ranting and raving about the Court. He's given numerous speeches about it, in fact, as he just did for nearly 25 minutes on Tuesday.


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