At Northwestern Law School at noon today, Senator Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democratic member of the Senate, announced that he would vote "No" on the nomination of Judge Alito to the United States Supreme Court.
In response to a question from an audience of Northwestern law students and faculty, Durbin disclosed that the Senate leaders were counting votes, not only on Alito's nomination, but on the possibility of a filibuster: "At this point, I wouldn't want to project whether we will have a filibuster."
On the nomination more generally, Durbin said that one Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, had publicly indicated that he would vote for Alito, and one undisclosed Republican Senator had privately indicated that he or she would probably vote against Alito.
In a brief press conference after the speech, Senator Durbin asserted about the Alito nomination: "Whether it will lead to a filibuster, I will be able to give you a better idea next week." He also declined to disclose whether he favored a filibuster. Durbin argued that members of the Senate have to draw their own conclusions on "whether to take it to that step." He elaborated: "If you don't have the numbers, you don't have the votes." It's "unclear whether we have 41 Members who are willing to stand up for that fight."