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Video: Senator Dianne Feinstein in Conversation

Linda Strean February 23, 2016
photo - Senator Dianne Feinstein and Mark Baldassare

Underscoring her role in three contentious policy issues, California’s senior senator spoke to a Sacramento audience last week about filling the vacancy on the US Supreme Court, the dispute between Apple and the FBI, and drought relief.

Senator Dianne Feinstein urged speedy consideration of a nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the court, saying that Senate can consider and confirm a new justice within 69 days—the average time for the process has taken in the past. She acknowledged that it would not be easy.

“I wish we could go back to the days when I first went to the Senate when the belief was that every president deserves his nominations,” she told Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, at the PPIC event.

Asked about the Apple controversy, she called on the company to reconsider its position and cooperate with the FBI to access data on a phone used by one of the San Bernardino killers. “Apple is not above the laws of the United States,” she said.

She said her position on the Senate Intelligence Committee—which occupies most of her time—gives her a perspective not shared by many on the dangers posed by terrorists.

Feinstein also detailed some of the provisions in her drought-relief bill, which would fund recycling, desalination, and water storage projects, as well as ease water trading.

She closed by describing her leadership style, saying she tries to “use the time to get things done. If I can’t do them through legislation, I’ll do them another way.”

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