Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced earlier this month that she would retire, bringing to an end a career that saw her play starring roles repeatedly in a half century of American political history. As the competitive primary to replace her rapidly gets underway, here’s a look back at her career, including some of the important moments that defined it.
High School student Dianne Goldman High school student and St. Francis Riding Academy drill team member Dianne Goldman (not yet Feinstein) with San Francisco mayor Elmer Robinson on March 24, 1950. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images) Dianne Feinstein on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Feinstein, the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, at San Francisco City Hall in September 1971. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images) Feinstein following the murder of Harvey Milk Feinstein holds a press conference in 1978 following the killing of Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk by former supervisor Dan White. Feinstein was in her office a few feet away from the shootings. “I heard shots. I heard three,” said Feinstein. (Getty Images) Feinstein after she is elected mayor of San Francisco Feinstein in her office at city hall after she was elected mayor of San Francisco, circa 1978. (Photo by Nick Allen/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images) Feinstein as mayor Mayor Feinstein stands in the middle of Steiner Street. (Photo by Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images) Feinstein runs for governor of California Feinstein formally declares her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for California governor at a press conference in 1990. (Getty Images) Feinstein working out Then-San Francisco mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Feinstein working out at her home gym in 1990. (Photo by Kim Komenich/Getty Images) Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Feinstein and Carol Moseley Braun Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Feinstein and Carol Moseley Braun in 1993. (Photo by Jeffrey Markowitz/Sygma via Getty Images) Feinstein and Geraldine Ferraro Senator Feinstein and former congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro attend fundraiser for Democratic Women Senate Candidates on July 14, 1992 at the New York Hilton Hotel. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) Feinstein with Angelina Jolie Actress Angelina Jolie, visiting Congress as the Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, shakes hands after a news conference with sponsors of legislation, including Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Feinstein. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images) Feinstein on TV Trends Salon owner Steve Wesseler watches Feinstein on CNBC while working on a customer’s perm in 1999. (Photo by Christopher J. Morris/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Bill Clinton and Feinstein President Bill Clinton with Democratic candidate Kathleen Brown, running for governor, and Feinstein at campaign rally at Los Angeles City Hall in 1994. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images) Feinstein with Domenici, McConnell Feinstein talks with Sen. Pete Domenici as Sen. Mitch McConnell looks on before the start of CBS’s Face the Nation on January 17, 1999 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Karin Cooper/Getty Images) George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Feinstein President George W. Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Feinstein are briefed by fire officials at Kit Carson Park after touring a neighborhood of destroyed homes in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego in 2007. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin-Pool/Getty Images) Feinstein greets Christopher Reeve Feinstein, who introduced a bill that would make human cloning a crime but allowed research involving nuclear transplantation, greets actor Christopher Reeve on March 5, 2002 prior to a hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Feinstein with Obama Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) listen during a news conference on January 18, 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Feinstein at Justice Alito’s confirmation hearing Feinstein listens to testimony during the confirmation hearing of future Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito on the third day of hearings in 2006. Senators questioned Alito heavily on his views about abortion. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Feinstein meets with Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Feinstein meets with President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court John Roberts in July 2005. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Feinstein and Robert Mueller Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller greets Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Feinstein before a Senate Judiciary Hearing in 2002. (MIKE THEILER/AFP via Getty Images) Then-Senator Hillary Clinton and Sen. Dianne Feinstein Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) laughs with Feinstein after the Senate Luncheons in 2005. (Photo by Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images) John Kerry and Feinstein Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry and Feinstein ride a boat across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California to attend an event in 2004. (STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP via Getty Images) Members of the California delegation cast their votes for John Kerry Members of the California delegation cast their votes for John Kerry on the floor of the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston. Seen from left are Senator Barbara Boxer, Feinstein, State Treasurer Philip Angelides (with glasses), Representative Maxine Waters and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images) Feinstein speaks during a public memorial service for former 49ers coach Bill Walsh Feinstein speaks during a public memorial service for former 49ers coach Bill Walsh in August 2007 at Monster Park in San Francisco, California. NFL Hall of Famer Bill Walsh, who was known by many as “The Genius” for leading the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl championships, died at the age of 75 after a long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Shakira and Feinstein Shakira and Feinstein pose for a photo on Capitol Hill in 2008. Shakira was on the Hill to lobby for foreign aid programs. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage) Feinstein at Obama’s inauguration Barack Obama listens to Feinstein during his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) “Seersucker Thursday,” 2005 Edition (Clockwise from upper L) Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), Senate Majority Whip Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO), Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Feinstein pose for photographers during a photo session for the annual official photo of “Seersucker Thursday” June 16, 2005 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. “Seersucker Thursday” is an official rite of spring which is organized once a year in the Senate by Sen. Lott. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Feinstein with Wanda Sykes Actress and comedienne Wanda Sykes and Feinstein attend the Human Rights Campaign’s Annual Los Angeles Gala and Hero Awards in 2009. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images) Barbara Boxer and Feinstein Senator Barbara Boxer celebrates with Feinstein after winning a fourth term on November 2, 2010. (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images) Aung San Suu Kyi and Feinstein Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (L) meets with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Feinstein, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and other members of the Senate leadership at the Capitol on September 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Feinstein with the Dalai Lama and Elie Wiesel The Dalai Lama bows toward the audience after receiving his Congressional Gold Medal as Feinstein and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel applaud in the Capitol Rotunda in 2007. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Female Senators of the 108th Congress Female Senators of the 108th Congress pose for a group picture on January 9, 2003 on Capitol Hill. (L-R seated): Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Feinstein and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). (L-R standing): Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Patty Murray. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Members of Congress speak about the Paycheck Fairness Act Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) speaks about the Paycheck Fairness Act during a news conference with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Feinstein, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) in 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Feinstein speaks about gun control Feinstein at a press conference about renewing the ban on assault-grade automatic weapons. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images) Feinstein’s last reelection Feinstein addresses supporters at her election party, Tuesday, November 6, 2018, in San Francisco, California. (Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images) Feinstein and Trump President Donald Trump speaks as Feinstein, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) listen during a meeting with bipartisan members of the Congress at the Cabinet Room of the White House February 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. President Trump held a meeting with lawmakers to discuss school and community safety. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Feinstein at the Capitol in 2019 Feinstein arrives at a weekly Senate Democratic Policy Luncheon at the Capitol February 5, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Feinstein in 2020 Feinstein walks through the Senate subway at the Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images) Lindsey Graham and Feinstein Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) greets ranking member Feinstein before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Police Use of Force and Community Relations” on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (Photo by Tom Williams / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
Feinstein and President Joe Biden Surrounded by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, President Joe Biden hands commemorative pens to Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowksi (R-AK) after he signs the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 into law in the East Room of the White House on July 22, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The law adds a new source of revenue for the Crime Victims Fund and makes changes to formula grants supported by the fund. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)