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Republicans vow to block Schumer's attempt to 'temporarily' replace Feinstein on Judiciary Committee

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday he hopes to act this week to temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the Senate's Judiciary Committee, a move Republicans vowed to block.

"I spoke to Sen. Feinstein just a few days ago. She believes she will return soon. She’s very hopeful of that and so am I," Sen. Schumer said at a press conference Monday.

Sen. Feinstein was diagnosed with shingles during the Senate's February recess. She was released from the hospital March 7 and has since been recovering at home.

"We think the Republicans should allow a temporary replacement [on the Judiciary Committee] until she returns," Sen. Schumer continued.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), however, quickly vowed to do no such thing, calling the move a means for President Biden to secure a "rubber stamp" for "unqualified and controversial judges to radically transform America."

"I will not go along with Chuck Schumer’s plan to replace Senator Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee and pack the court with activist judges," Sen. Blackburn tweeted Monday, adding an admonition to fellow Republicans to "stand up and protect the Senate's constitutional role to provide advice and consent on judicial nominees."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, echoed Blackburn's sentiments: "Democrats serve as a rubber stamp for Joe Biden's radical judicial nominees — no matter how unqualified."

Saturday, fellow Judiciary Committee member Sen. Tom Cotton retweeted an op-ed published in the Federalist. The piece encouraged the GOP to refuse to cooperate with Feinstein's staff's request to temporarily replace the 89-year-old, ailing senator whose cognitive decline "has been known on Capitol Hill for years."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has joined his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee in saying he will not support any move to temporarily replace Sen. Feinstein, CNN's chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, reported Monday afternoon. Sen. Cornyn also reportedly said the GOP "shouldn't help confirm Biden judicial nominees."

This "signifies that a Dem effort to replace [Sen. Feinstein] [is] likely to fail in a floor vote," according to Raju.

Democrats would need 60 votes on the floor to fill Feinstein's seat on the committee since multiple Judiciary Committee members have already said they would block any request for unanimous consent to seat another Democrat, as explained in The Hill.

Watch Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) field reporters' questions about his proposal to replace Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the U.S. Senate's Committee on the Judiciary below.

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