Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Quick Note on the Sotomayor Confirmation

Judge Sonia Sotomayor was just confirmed by the Senate, 68-31. Nine Republicans voted yes. One thing I would note is that 4 of those 9 yea votes are from retiring members (Gregg, Martinez, Bond, and Voinovich). Early on the process I speculated on how things might shake out on the Republican side (turns out I was wrong about a lot).

What seems clear is that the partisan voting trend continues on these nominations. Because of their impending retirments, these four no longer had to worry about any repurcussions stemming from supporting Sotomayor. Its hard for the leadership to whip Senators into line behind the party position when those Senators are on the way out the door. Voinovich's comments last week about the state of the Republican party and its increasing "southern-ness" seems, in retrospect, to be an insight into his thinking. Perhaps the most interesting of the Republican yeas is Lamar Alexander (R-TN) whose comments in support of Sotomayor sought to defuse the polarization of these nomination fights. Having run for President himself, Alexander may, one might speculate, be sympathetic to the critique offered by his Ohio colleague--although one can't imagine the Tennessean voicing his agreement.

***UPDATE: Nate Silver provides a rundown of the GOP vote and provides the following helpful visual on states' Hispanic population and the ultimate vote of their GOP senators.

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