The Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court today at 3pm. It looks like there will be just shy of 70 votes in favor of her confirmation. Back in June I wrote:
If I had to make a prediction, I’d guess that the vote will actually occur just after the August recess, and that somewhere around 75 Senators will vote in favor of Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation.
I overestimated the number of Republicans who would end up voting in her favor, as well as their ability to make the case for a slight delay. But you were warned the prediction was “worth about as much as the paper it’s printed on.” Other folks’ predictions are here.
UPDATE: According to Ed Whelan, 31 Republican Senators have announced their intention to vote against Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation; 8 Republicans (Alexander, Bond, Collins, Graham, Gregg, Lugar, Martinez, and Snowe) have said they will vote in favor; 1 Republican (Voinovich) is undeclared. Given that it is unlikely Senators Byrd and Kennedy will be able to vote, this means the final tally should be 67-31 or 66-32.
UPDATE: And here’s what Benjamin Wittes wrote about the nomination on May 27:
Only a few years ago, a Supreme Court nominee like Judge Sonia Sotomayor could expect quick, nearly unanimous confirmation. She is, after all, a long-serving appellate court judge who has also served on the district court bench, and she is qualified for the high court in every formal sense. While fights over such nominees occasionally erupted, they were rare. The nomination of John Paul Stevens as late as 1975 received unanimous Senate approval in a mere 16 days.
Yet based on recent trends in Supreme Court nominations, Sotomayor can probably expect a minimum of 30 votes against her, maybe more like 40. She can expect highly contentious questions about everything she has ever written or said. She can expect a team of operatives to spend the next few months digging up dirt on her. And she can expect insinuations of perjury before the Senate Judiciary Committee to the extent that there is any tension between her voluminous judicial work and the words she speaks in the careful dance in which she will engage with the committee.
Our system has gone from one in which people like Sotomayor, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito are shoe-ins for confirmation to a system in which they are shoo-ins for confirmation confrontations. It’s worth asking whether America gets anything in exchange for this new presumption, other than battles that serve to energize both political bases.
FINAL UPDATE: The final vote tally was 68-31 in favor of confirmation.