Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will probably move in as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which could push the panel to a more moderate stance.
That’s because Feinstein herself is more moderate than the current chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., The Hill reports
. He is expected to switch to chairman of the Appropriations Committee to replace Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died Monday. Leahy told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he would make a decision within 24 hours.
Feinstein is in line to succeed Leahy based on seniority. She said Tuesday that she expects to head Judiciary starting in January and put renewal of the assault weapons ban and overhaul of immigration laws at the top of her agenda, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The California senator has shown a bipartisan streak. For example, she supported the 2001 George W. Bush tax cuts, war against Iraq in 2002, and Bush’s 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan.
Feinstein also has diverged with liberal Democrats on some judicial nominations. In 2007, for instance, she voted with nine Republicans on the Judiciary committee in favor of Leslie Southwick, President Bush’s controversial choice for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Feinstein doesn’t have a close relationship with the trial-attorney profession, as many other Democrats do. In 1999, she backed a bill to limit liability over technology issues related to the onset of the new century.
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