Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senator Dianne Feinstein not getting Judiciary chair; Leahy isn't moving

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Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein looked to be in line for head of Judiciary Committee, but instead she'll remain chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee.

In musical chairs, somebody doesn't get to sit down.

It was looking as though California Democrat Dianne Feinstein would move over to chair the Senate Judicary Committee. Monday's death of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye meant the top job at the powerful Appropriations Committee would have to be filled.

It was widely expected that Patrick Leahy of Vermont would take that job, leaving open the Judiciary chairmanship. But on Wednesday, "The Hill" confirmed Leahy is passing up the Appropriations job. (Maryland's Barbara Mikulski now seems to be in line.)

Instead, Leahy is staying on as the chair of Judiciary. Which means Feinstein doesn't get that post. But that also means she doesn't have to vacate the top job at the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senator Feinstein issued a statement that said: “I’m very happy where I am.  I will continue to serve as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and support the leadership of Chairman Leahy, and I’m delighted to continue to chair the Intelligence Committee and provide important oversight to the 16 agencies of our intelligence community.”