Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin wants to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“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, D-Ill., said in a statement on Twitter announcing his intentions.

Feinstein on Monday said she would step down from her role after public criticism of her bipartisan outreach and her handling of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings.

“I will continue to do my utmost to bring about positive change in the coming years,” she said in the statement. She has held the Judiciary post since 2017.

Durbin is third in seniority on the panel, after Sen. Patrick Leahy, currently the top Democrat on the appropriations committee.

Feinstein, first elected in 1992, has been a powerful force in the Democratic Party and is the former chairwoman of the intelligence panel. She has not shied from bipartisanship, even as her state has become increasingly liberal and both parties have become more polarized.

That tension came to a head at the Barrett hearings, when Feinstein closed out the proceedings with an embrace for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a public thanks to Graham for a job well done. Democrats fiercely opposed Barrett’s nomination to replace the late liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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