“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress,” Feinstein said in a statement.
Feinstein said she instead will focus attention on issues of importance to her, including the wildfires and droughts in her home state of California. She said she will continue to serve on the Judiciary panel, as well as three other committees: Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules.
“We have to roll up our sleeves and get to work on undoing the damage of the last four years and protecting fundamental civil and human rights,” Durbin said in a statement. “The to-do list for the Senate Judiciary Committee is long.”
Feinstein, 87, had been a target of intense criticism from both the left and right in the Trump era.
Republicans accused her of anti-religious bias for how she handled Trump’s nomination of
Yet some of the harshest criticism came from liberal groups, who faulted her for not being more aggressive in opposing Trump’s nominees. She came under fire from the left in October for she praised Judiciary Chairman
Liberal groups including Demand Justice who opposed Barrett’s confirmation demanded she step aside, and Senate Minority Leader
Schumer, in a statement on Monday night, said he was “deeply grateful” for the senator’s “leadership and contributions to our caucus and country.” A Feinstein spokesman declined to comment further.
In a statement after Feinstein’s announcement, Demand Justice Executive Director
“Going forward, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee must be led by someone who will not wishfully cling to a bygone era of civility and decorum that Republicans abandoned long ago,” he said.
Feinstein has served in the Senate since 1992. The role of ranking Democrat will be especially important as control of the chamber is hanging on the result of two Jan. 5 runoff elections elections in Georgia. If the Democratic candidates can manage to win both, the party would take control of the Senate and chairmanship of committees.
(Updates with Durbin statement in fourth paragraph)
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