89-year-old Senator Diane Feinstein faces calls to resign


Becky Hammel

Feinstein in 2004

89-year-old Californian Senator Diane Feinstein has faced calls to resign from her seat after being unable to perform many of her Congressional duties for the last two months. Feinstein has been recovering from shingles since late February. 

Representative Ro Khanna, also a Democrat from California, called for Feinstein’s resignation on Twitter, saying that she “[obviously] can no longer fulfill her duties” and that despite Feinstein’s “lifetime of public service” Senators must “put the country ahead of personal loyalty.” He followed up with a statement to NBC News in which he expressed concern about how Feinstein’s absence made it difficult for the Senate to confirm pro-choice judges in the wake of the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

Feinstein holds a critical position for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which confirms judges nominated by the President. Judges need to be confirmed by a majority, and since the Democrats hold a one-vote majority, Feinstein’s nonattendance has meant that the Democratic efforts to confirm judges has been majorly hindered.

As the oldest sitting member of Congress, her ability to serve had already been questioned previous to the illness. Early February, Feinstein already announced that she plans to retire in 2024 and will not attempt to be re-elected.

Feinstein has been a trailblazer in politics as the first female mayor of San Francisco and the first female Senator to represent California. She historically has been incredibly popular as a politician and has held multiple important positions within the Senate, chairing multiple committees and overseeing the first inauguration of President Barack Obama.