Schumer wants Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin as Feinstein’s replacement on Senate Judiciary panel

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday he wants Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland to replace the ailing Sen. Dianne  Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee until she returns from a prolonged medical absence.

Mr. Schumer said the Senate will vote on the substitution later Tuesday. But Senate Republicans will block the move because it would allow Democrats to advance several of President Biden’s judicial nominees who are stuck in limbo without bipartisan support.

Mr. Cardin has served in elected office for 56 years since 1967, in the Maryland statehouse and in Congress. He’s served in the Senate since 2007 and is up for reelection next year. The 79-year-old has not said whether he will run again.

Mr. Cardin is chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and serves on the Environment and Public Works, Finance, and Foreign Relations Committees.

Ms. Feinstein has been absent for several weeks since she was diagnosed with shingles and underwent hospitalization in February. It has left the Judiciary Committee split and unable to advance at least four of Mr. Biden’s nominees whom Republicans say are unqualified to serve on the federal bench.

Two House Democrats have called for the 89-year-old’s resignation amid broader concerns about her cognitive health. Other Democrats have rallied to her defense and rebuffed the idea they are trying to force Ms. Feinstein from the seat she’s held for more than 30 years.

Ms. Feinstein is not seeking reelection next year.

“I spoke to Sen. Feinstein just last Friday, and she and I are very hopeful she’ll return soon,” Mr. Schumer said. 

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