(Inside California Politics) — After U.S. Senator for California Dianne Feinstein requested to be replaced on the judicial committee as she treats a medical condition, her longtime colleague, former Senator Barbara Boxer, says that a temporary move would allow the government to continue its work.
Feinstein has been absent from the Senate since late February after being diagnosed with shingles and her absence has prompted fellow democrats such as Rep. Ro Khanna to call for the long-time senator to resign.
Asked about her thoughts on if her former colleague should resign, Boxer declined to directly say either way.
“I never tell anyone when to stay or when to go,” Boxer said. “It was hard enough for me.”
Boxer, who served in the Senate with Feinstein from 1993 to 2017, said while at first the calls for the senator to resign may have been motivated in part by sexism, things have changed.
“I believe now that her absence is causing a situation where no judges can be confirmed in the Senate, it’s a different circumstance,” Boxer said.
Boxer commended Feinstein on her offer to be temporarily replaced on the Senate Judiciary Committee but suggested there might be a roadblock to that plan.
“I think that is an excellent first step assuming the Republicans don’t put up a big fight,” Boxer said. “… If they respect her as much as they’ve said they do then they should allow this to happen without setting up an obstacle course.”
Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate at 89, announced earlier this year that she would retire at the end of her current term.
Democratic lawmakers Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Barbara Lee have all announced they would run to replace Feinstein in 2024.
Eric Early, a Republican attorney who ran unsuccessfully for state attorney general in 2022 and 2018 and for Congress in 2020, also entered the contest.
Boxer suggested there may be other political motivations for Khanna, who is co-chairing Lee’s Senate campaign, to call for Feinstein to resign.
“Is he acting in a way to help Barbara Lee?” Boxer said. “I don’t know. You’d have to ask him that.”
Boxer said she doesn’t think Feinstein’s absence will tarnish her legacy.
“I think what she has done is so extraordinary and we worked so hard together on so many things,” Boxer said. “Those don’t fade away. They’re in the history books.”