Republican Senator Lindsey Graham blocked a unanimous consent vote to temporarily replace Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee while she recovers from shingles, NBC News reported.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to call a unanimous consent vote to replace Feinstein with Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin, arguing that the California Senator “made her wish clear” that she wanted a temporary replacement until she returns.
Such a vote only requires one Senator to block it, and Senator Graham, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, did just that.
Speaking in the Senate chamber, Graham reserved his right to object, noting that while 99 members of the Senate agree with Schumer’s words about wishing Senator Feinstein a “speedy recovery” and return to the Senate, the unanimous consent vote to replace her “is about a handful of judges that you can’t get the votes.”
Graham said he doesn’t believe judges that lack support from Republicans should be confirmed.
With Graham’s right to object, Democrats have few options left. Schumer could call for a full Senate vote on the matter which would require 60 votes to pass.
However, it is unlikely the Democrats could win the support of 10 Republicans.
Several Republican senators have already voiced their opposition to replacing Feinstein on the committee.
Last week, Judiciary Committee member Tom Cotton (R-AK) tweeted that no Republican senator should “assist Democrats” so President Biden’s “most radical nominees to the courts” can be confirmed.
On Monday, Judiciary Committee member Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), tweeted her opposition as well, saying she would not help Schumer turn the Senate into a “rubber stamp” for President Biden’s “unqualified and controversial judges” to “radically transform America.”
Judiciary Committee Republican John Cornyn (R-TX) also voice his opposition to the move on Monday, saying Republicans would not break precedent to “bail out” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for President Biden’s “most controversial nominees.”