Sen. Lindsey Graham says the only event in which Democrats would receive his support to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee is if the longtime California Democrat resigns from office.
Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, said his position is consistent with Senate precedent to allow vacancies caused by a resignation to be filled by the chamber.
“I am very capable of supporting Democratic nominees, but there are four or five that just are out of the mainstream, and they want to replace Dianne Feinstein’s seat for the judges,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If she does resign, I would be in the camp of following the precedent of the Senate: replacing the person consistent with what we’ve done in the past.”
His stance is staked out more broadly by Senate Republicans, who are blocking a temporary replacement for Ms. Feinstein on the Judiciary panel so that Democrats are unable to advance President Biden’s judicial nominees who lack bipartisan support. Without Ms. Feinstein, the committee is evenly split.
Ms. Feinstein has been absent since she was diagnosed with shingles in February that required hospitalization.
The 89-year-old, who has held her seat for more than 30 years, is not seeking reelection next year but has still faced growing pressure from Democrats to resign early because of their one-seat majority. Her cognitive health has also been in question for several years.
Ms. Feinstein has not said when she will return, but Democratic leaders insist it will be in the near future.
“I have made very clear at some point when we have debt-ceiling votes and the like that will be another consideration she will have to make with her family,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Judiciary Committee member, said in a separate interview on “State of the Union.” “But for now, it is very clear. She’s said she’s coming back, and that will resolve the problem.”