Feinstein 'surprised and taken aback' by suggestion she's not up for Supreme Court fight

Feinstein 'surprised and taken aback' by suggestion she's not up for Supreme Court fight
© AP/Pool

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel Feinstein Ban on new offshore drilling must stay in the Build Back Better Act Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Jane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is rejecting suggestions that she is not prepared to handle an upcoming Supreme Court nomination fight.

Democratic sources told Politico in a story published Wednesday that there is concern that Feinstein, 87, is not capable of leading an aggressive push against the Supreme Court nominee President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE picks to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgCouric defends editing of RBG interview Biden's Supreme Court commission ends not with a bang but a whimper The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE

“I’m really surprised and taken aback by this. Because I try to be very careful and I’m puzzled by it,” Feinstein told Politico. “My attendance is good, I do the homework, I try to ask hard questions. I stand up for what I believe in.”

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One Democratic senator told Politico under the condition of anonymity that some in the party are pushing for Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinEmanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Manchin, Tester voice opposition to carbon tax Democrats feel high anxiety in Biden spending conflict MORE (D-Ill.) or Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOn The Money — It all comes down to Bernie and Joe Manchin, Tester voice opposition to carbon tax Democrats scramble for climate alternatives MORE (D-R.I.) to serve as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee during the nomination hearings. 

They cited, among other things, the fact that Feinstein waited too long to disclose sexual assault allegations by Christine Blasey Ford against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy MORE.

“She’s not sure what she’s doing,” they said. “If you take a look at Kavanaugh, we may be short two senators because of that. And if this gets [messed] up, it may be the same result.”

The senator added that Feinstein’s performance could “impact a number of seats we can win.”

Democrats are reportedly discussing adjusting the seniority system for next year in case the party wins the Senate, making it so Feinstein does not become chair of the judiciary committee. 

Feinstein told Politico that she can only do so much to slow the nomination but can’t stop it as long as Republicans stick together.

“Let me say this — I know it’s going to be a fight, I understand that,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of tools to use, but I’m going to use what I have. We can try to delay and obstruct but they can run this process through. That doesn’t mean that we won’t fight tooth and nail.”

The California Democrat has rejected calls from some members of the caucus to expand the Supreme Court and end the filibuster if Democrats flip the Senate.