Article I, Section 5, Clause 2, of the U.S. Constitution provides that a Member of Congress can be removed from office before the expiration of his/her term by a vote of “expulsion,” i.e. upon a vote on a resolution agreed to by two-thirds of the Members.
Usually, that means bad acts. Criminal acts. For example, if one engaged in influence-peddling and soft-armed bribery by using a coke-addled waste-of-air son as a bagman cutout, that, by example, would be bad and worthy of removal from office.
But what if one were simply a dinosaur? A Jurassic holdover. An ancient wasting relic of a bygone age? Being old isn’t, by itself, an indication of incapacity. My dad is 100 and has more on the ball than our current White House resident, but what if one is incapable of basic functions of normality? What if one lacks the ability to speak and understand speech? Senator Fetterman fits that incapacity metric, but alas, he will stay in the Senate because, notwithstanding his obvious incapacity to act coherently, Pennsylvania elected him, knowing that he was an empty XXL sweatshirt.
But what happens when a US Senator has demonstrated that she cannot function as anything more than a puppet for the whims of staff members? If 90-year-old Dianne Feinstein were a resident of “Shady Hills Rest Home,” she wouldn’t be allowed to manage her own medications, let alone cast votes that impact 340 million Americans. Shady Hills Rest Home wouldn’t give her any responsibilities beyond (potentially) ordering her own lunch. Shady Hills Feinstein would have trouble playing bingo on Tuesday night, let alone reading legislation, understanding it, and voting on it. Feinstein showed an obvious decline before her last election, but at least she had some capacity to formulate cogent thoughts before her afternoon nap. Now, she is a relic. An archeological impression of what was once a functioning US Senator.
Although Feinstein has shown obvious signs that she is incapable of even understanding where she is and what she is doing, now, for lack of a better metaphor, Senator Feinstein hasn’t crossed her Rubicon; she has fallen into it and drowned.
The New York Post has now reported that Dianne Feinstein relinquished power of attorney to her daughter Katherine Feinstein (66). Diane Feinstein has given her daughter, a former judge and current President of the San Francisco Fire Commission, the right to act in the Senator’s stead. Regardless of how Katherine may act in Dianne’s stead, she wasn’t elected or appointed to the US Senate.
And, no one elected Dianne Feinstein’s staff to the US Senate. Yet, here we are with unelected family members and Feinstein’s staff clearly acting as a proxy Senator. No doubt it is empowering for them, but the Constitution didn’t intend for a fossilized dinosaur to be a US Senator or that dinosaur to give proxy power to his/her daughter.
Dianne Feinstein is incapable of resigning on her own. That much is clear. It is up to the Senate to expel her if she doesn’t step away on her own. One wonders. Since Dianne Feinstein has given up her power of attorney to Katherine, does her daughter cast a “nah” vote on expulsion?