Large Senate Majority Votes in Favor of Cloture on Alito Nomination:

The official results haven't been announced, but it appears that all Republicans (except Ensign, who was absent) voted in favor of cloture, as did the following Democrats: Akaka, Baucus, Bingaman, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Dorgan, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, Lieberman, Lincoln, Kohl, Nelson (Florida), Nelson (Nebraska), Rockefeller, and Salazar. Most surprising of the Dem votes were the Senators from Hawaii (a state which was once Republican, because much of the opposition to statehood came from Southern Democrat racists, then became very blue, and now is becoming increasing purple) and from Washington's Cantwell (who faces a tough re-election fight in state which is purple for state-wide races).

Update: Total was just announced: 72-25.

Final count 72-25 for cloture.
1.30.2006 5:31pm
SimonD (www):
Now, as a matter of linguistics, would you classify that as a defeat, or a rout?

Still, on the plus side, it must be comforting for the Jr. Senator from Massachusetts to be back on familiar ground...

[dK: I'd classify it as a show of strength for the Kossacks, although they're certainly not taking it that way. In less than a week, they picked up Clinton, Feinstein, Biden, and Obama.

In a broader sense, there was not much of a realistic chance of defeating Alito, in light of how similar he is to Roberts. The real strategic disaster for PFAW, Kos, etc., is that Republican Presidents may finally have outgrown their fear of a nominee with a paper trail.]
1.30.2006 5:48pm
Kovarsky (mail):
I'd classify it as a draw. The one's voting for a filibuster didn't really want one, or rather expect one. They just wanted to be able to say they voted for it. They can still do that.

Out of curiousity, is there any listing of the splits - i.e. (1) Senators that voted for Alito but against cloture and (2) Senators that voted against Alito but for cloture?
1.30.2006 5:52pm
1.30.2006 5:55pm
Kovarsky, the final vote will be tomorrow. No listing yet (that I've found) on who voted for filibustering (or, technically, "against cloture")
1.30.2006 5:55pm
JLR (mail):
NB: Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), who in my opinion was the most likely Republican to vote to sustain a filibuster, voted in favor of cloture. Yet he announced today that he would vote against Alito's confirmation tomorrow. This state of affairs correlates with my analysis from January 19th, which can be found by clicking on this link and this link.

Whether Senator Chafee can get the needed political benefit for his 2006 reelection campaign by voting against Alito on the floor alone, or whether he would have needed to vote to sustain the filibuster as well, is unclear. But it is likely that the GOP leadership told him that, while he would not be punished internally for voting against Alito on the floor, he would likely face major consequences in terms of his ability to function within the Senate for voting to sustain a filibuster.
1.30.2006 5:58pm
Kovarsky (mail):
WB, good point. I'd already had it in my head that he was confirmed and the only issue was cloture... I forgot that the vote hadn't actually taken place yet.

I'm a moron.
1.30.2006 6:02pm
Syd (mail):
I'd say 62 - 65 votes in favor of confirmation.
1.30.2006 6:07pm
byb (mail):
Is this the sort of thing worthy of inclusion in this blog? I get newsfeeds about such breaking news and it seems a bit out of place here- given that the "news" isn't wrapped in any insightful analysis or new info.
1.30.2006 6:15pm
Kovarsky (mail):
i've made this point elsewhere, but filibustering alito was so stupid it drooled, in part because it was based on a mathematical falsehood.

so much of the momentum was driven by the idea that alito was replacing oconnor, so the court's rightward shift was going to be the difference between the conservative valence of those two jurists.

incorrect. the rightward shift is measured by the rightward shift in the median vote, which is from oconnor to kennedy.

why on earth would you waste a filibuster here (and risk the nuclear option) when the next shift in median voter (assuming a bush appointee) will be from kennedy to roberts, a far more dramatic change.
1.30.2006 6:27pm
David, you are optimistic about the Republicans' chances in Washington Statewide races. That's not because Washington wouldn't vote for a decent Republican candidate, but rather because the Republican party of Washington does not, as a rule, provide decent candidates for statewide races. Dino Rossi was a step in the right direction, but Nethercutt was terminally injured by his reneging on his term limit promises (you have to be a pretty bad candidate to lose to Patty Murray). Patty's previous opponent was Linda Smith, about as far-right as you can get. Gary Locke's two opponents were 1) a far-right elderly woman, and 2) a radio talk show host.

The same applies to Oregon's Republican party by the way, Gordon Smith excepted.
1.30.2006 6:30pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Not surprised at my local Senator, Salazar, as he is, as usual, straddling, indicating that he will vote against Judge Alito. And this has the advantage of making him appear princpled - which I really don't think he is.
1.30.2006 6:33pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
Don't know whether this qualifies as official, but here's the Washington Post's roll-call vote.

1.30.2006 6:35pm
Silicon Valley Jim:

1.30.2006 6:36pm
Roll call is here.

No Republicans voted against cloture, though Ensign (R-NV) and Hagel (R-NE) joined Harkin (D-IA) in abstaining.

byb, perhaps this is worth noting because, by voting against cloture, Feinstein may have derailed Cindy Sheehan's 24-hour Senate candidacy, which was covered at this blog.
1.30.2006 6:37pm

I'd say 62 - 65 votes in favor of confirmation.

There are 57 "yeah"s and 6 Senators on the fence at the moment -- see Don't forget to subtract Bayh from the undecided vote since he has just voted for the filibuster. Theoretically, Alito can get as many as 63 votes on Tuesday, but it's more likely that the final total will be around 58-59.
1.30.2006 6:39pm
Houston Lawyer:
There hasn't been a truly interesting Senate vote on a supreme court nominee since Clarence Thomas. As Kovarsky notes, the next confirmation hearing should be the interesting one.

Who's on the top of the list now? Do we get another diversity pick? Do women get left off of the next top list because of the Myers fiasco? Do we have a predictably conservative Black or Hispanic justice in waiting. GWB has three more years for the opportunity to arise.

[DK: My personal guess is that Bush does what he's really wanted to do all along, and picks Gonzales, especially if he gets to make the pick after the 2006 elections, and feels he doesn't need to placate his base.]
1.30.2006 6:48pm
I suppose the question is who is likely to step down.

You may say Justice Stevens, but people have been losing that bet for a long time. In 1994, an article in the NY Times referred to the "widely anticipated retirement" of Justice Stevens after the 1994-95 term.

I suppose he can't live forever, and he'll turn 88 six and a half months before the next presidential election, but he could live to be 100.

I doubt if Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Thomas or Scalia are going anywhere.
1.30.2006 6:59pm
Second-order link to the 1994 reference

The "de novo" link is broken.
1.30.2006 6:59pm
gwangung (mail):
Personally, I think the Republicans in the state of Washington will make some gains if they stop being partisan and start being ideological. The whole deal about challenging "illegal voters" in the last election doesn't play well a lot of voters (particularly since their challenges had errors a magnitude greater than the incumbent Democratic elections administration).

Former SAFECO CEO Mike McGavick might be an able challenger, if he can resist caving into the more extreme elements (the ones that put up the last three governors candidates)(and I don't think Dino Rossi was that strong a candidate.....)
1.30.2006 7:06pm
DaveL (mail):
That's a very odd take on Hawaii politics. It's a good bet that Inouye and Akaka voted for cloture in exchange for a commitment from the leadership for a vote on Akaka's Native Hawaiian recognition/sovereignty bill. Hawaii was Republican long before statehood and became Democratic when the WWII generation of AJAs decided they were sick of being second-class citizens. If national political issues had anything to do with that, they were very tangential. Despite our Republican governor, it remains very much a blue state, albeit one that suffers from the usual problems that arise when one party holds power for too long.

[DK: It might be an incorrect analysis, but not an unusual one. There was a lot of talk about the purplization of Hawaii in October 2004, when polls showed Bush within striking distance of winning the state. He ended up with 45%, which was a 7% gain over his 2000 showing in Hawaii. It's also true that when states shift on the political spectrum, the shift doesn't take place everywhere at once. The South started going Republican at the Presidential level many years before it started giving Republicans majorities in state legislatures. But Hawaii's all-Democrat Congresspeople appears to have a very comfortable lock on their seats, so that no Republican will have a realistic chance until an incumbent retires.]
1.30.2006 7:11pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
I doubt if Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Thomas or Scalia are going anywhere.

You're probably right that none of them is planning to go anywhere, but, as you note, Stevens will be 86 in April. Ginsburg will be 73 in March and has already had one bout with colon cancer, and Scalia will be 70 in March. I don't wish any misfortune to any of them. It wouldn't be surprising, however, for any of them to suffer something debilitating or even fatal.
1.30.2006 7:25pm
Let's remember that it would have been 73 votes in favor of cloture had Ensign not been in a car accident this morning. Had the vote really mattered, I would hope that a Democrat supporting the filibuster would have voted for cloture because of Ensign's absence. This is a common practice when one of the AK/HI senators is absent because one is attending to duties in his home state. Sadly, I doubt this would have happened (Reid would have been the best candidate being a fellow NV'er, but I would give him the benefit of the doubt since he's also the Senate Minority Leader).
1.30.2006 7:31pm
JLR (mail):
One thing that will be interesting to see tomorrow morning will be how Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) will vote on Alito's confirmation. She voted for cloture, but she is the only Republican to not indicate how she will vote on the confirmation itself. Senator Lincoln Chafee, as I wrote about above, voted for cloture but announced he will vote against Alito's confirmation. Senator Snowe, like Senator Chafee, is a moderate Republican up for reelection this year in a blue state. Unlike Senator Chafee, however, Senator Snowe is quite popular within her state and is not having difficulty raising money. So it will be interesting to see how Snowe will decide to vote, and if her vote affects her reelection chances.
1.30.2006 7:40pm

Washington Republicans used to put up some sound candidates, but then the Republican party drifted rightward. Someone like former Governor and Senator Daniel Evans, easily electable at general election time, would have no chance of getting past a Republican primary. Slade Gorton was widely perceived as careening rightward in the 1990's, which explains his loss to Cantwell.

In Oregon, the Republicans have consistently shot themselves in the foot since our last Republican governor left office in 1986. In 1990 a moderate Republican gubernatorial candidate was defeated because a right-wing fringe candidate entered the race. In 1994 the primary resulted in a weak right-wing Congressman getting the nod. 1998 saw a disgraced anti-tax activist go down to flaming defeat. In 2002, Kevin Mannix, the far-right candidate, won the primary and then barely lost to our current lackluster Democratic governor. 2006 doesn't seem to be turning out any better - Mannix is the front-runner for the Republican nod, and his main opposition is a far-right State Senator from Medford.
1.30.2006 7:47pm
The NJ Annuitant (mail):
I look forward to the swearing in of Justice Alito.
1.30.2006 7:52pm
SimonD (www):
Who's on the top of the list now?
Hopefully, Judge Sykes (CA7), Justice Young (MISC) and Justice Cantero (FLSC).
1.30.2006 7:54pm
Wintermute (www):
Were I a Democratic Senator, think I'd have let 'em talk a bit. The activists are really keeping tabs on this. Hell, I believe in more turnover anyway....
1.30.2006 8:36pm
Craig Oren (mail):
a little more about Hawaii . . . Kennedy carried it -- very narrowly-- in 1960, despite its supposedly Republican nature. Except in Republican landslides, it's been consistently Democratic since. I suspect that whatever explanation there might be of the votes of Hawaii's senators has *nothing* to do with ancient history about how Hawaii was Republican in the 1950s.
1.30.2006 9:14pm
DaveL (mail):
It might be an incorrect analysis, but not an unusual one. There was a lot of talk about the purplization of Hawaii in October 2004, when polls showed Bush within striking distance of winning the state. He ended up with 45%, which was a 7% gain over his 2000 showing in Hawaii. It's also true that when states shift on the political spectrum, the shift doesn't take place everywhere at once. The South started going Republican at the Presidential level many years before it started giving Republicans majorities in state legislatures. But Hawaii's all-Democrat Congresspeople appears to have a very comfortable lock on their seats, so that no Republican will have a realistic chance until an incumbent retires.

True, if by "not unusual" you mean "not unusual among national Republicans who want very much to believe it." It's conceivable that a Republican Presidential candidate could carry Hawaii in the right year, but to qualify as "purple" we'd need a credible Republican Party at the state level, and we're not close to there yet. Linda Lingle is working at it, and the Democrats have controlled the Legislature for way too long for their own good, but the Rs still suffer from a severe shortage of credible candidates, among other things. It's reasonable to expect them to become more competitive over time, but the likely end point of that process is somewhere like the West Coast, not the South.
1.30.2006 9:20pm
magoo (mail):
I think Wilkinson can get back on the short list if he commits himself to cross-training.
1.30.2006 9:28pm
Chris S.:
DaveL, I'm not sure that's a rebuttal. DK is suggesting that Presidential results are seen as a predictor, not as a reflection of current reality. A 7% swing in vote for a Republican President in the same year a state elecst its first R Governor in 40 years are seen by some as hints at a future "purplization." He's not suggesting it's gone purple, just that it's showing early signs of bruising.

I'm not sure it will play out that way, but it's an interesting one to watch.
1.30.2006 10:09pm
Burky (mail):
Gee, poor John Kerry's even worse at rallying his fellow liberal Senators than he is at turning out voters nationwide. Well, the fact he could get even 25 to support a filibuster when the debate has gone on for 3 months, the American people overwhelmingly support this nominee, and that Judge Alito has the highest qualifications, I guess Johnny &Teddy should be applauded for being able to muster two dozen leftist wackos to go down with the ship.
1.30.2006 10:31pm
DaveL (mail):
Actually, my first comment was aimed less at the "increasingly purple" comment than the attribution of Hawaii's pre-statehood Republican leanings to Southern racists' opposition to statehood, as well as the implicit suggestion that Inouye's and Akaka's votes on cloture were attributalbe to Hawaii becoming more Republican. As noted in my first post, Inouye and Akaka are busy trying to get the leadership to quietly give them a vote on Akaka's Native Hawaiian bill, and it's a good bet that their votes were part of that effort. The Hawaii delegation is not exactly known for putting partisan interests ahead of parochial ones (see also their ANWR votes).

And for the record, Linda Lingle was elected Governor in 2002, not 2004. The Rs lost seats in the Legislature in 2004, which has allowed the Ds to thumb their nose at her legislative agendas, strip her Administration of regulatory authority that past governors have used to deal with recalcitrant legislators, and override her vetoes with great and dismal regularity. In that context, I think it's a lot easier to read Bush's improved showing in 2004 as resting more on his incumbent status than on shifting party preferences. Again, I do think that Republicans will become more competitive in Hawaii, but that process will be mostly driven by local political dynamics, and Hawaii Republicans will generally continue to be well to the left of the national party.
1.30.2006 10:41pm
Justin (mail):
When the next Supreme Court Justice goes, the Age of Congress will officially be over.

Something tells me we'll have a new Constitution in my lifetime. I hope this is what the conservatives wanted from this administration.
1.30.2006 11:01pm
ras (mail):
Doesn't the nature of Alito's confirmation (presuming tomorrow goes as expected) increase the odds of another retirement? It took half a year to replace SDO. The next replacement could take even longer if a fb takes place.

Were I a Justice contemplating retirement for whatever reason - health, family etc - and looking around me at my colleagues who might also be contemplating the same thing, I'd figure that if I might have to get in a long, slow line to get this done, then I'd better get started sooner rather than later.

And if I talked to my colleagues and confirmed that some of them were having similar thoughts, I think that as a group we might conclude much the same.
1.30.2006 11:05pm
Bob Smith (mail):
>David, you are optimistic about the Republicans' chances in
>Washington Statewide races

Surprising, given the apparent fraud in the governor's race.
1.30.2006 11:09pm
The timing of Alito's confirmation could not be better for Bush, who now has the benefit of winning a major victory the morning of his SOTU address, and the coverage of the judicial committee hearings have been helpful for Bush. Had Harry Reid assented and allowed the hearings and confirmation vote to be held right before Christmas, the busy holiday season would have been distracting. Now, Reid bears some responsibility for an embarassing loss made worse by its inconvenient timing.
1.30.2006 11:37pm
Paul B (mail):
The ease at which a half-baked filibuster effort was pushed aside disguises the fact that while Justice Roberts received the support of almost half of the Senate Democrats, only four supported Judge Alito on confirmation, and over half felt the need to support a filibuster that several of the filibuster supporters (Reid, Feinstein, Obama)had criticized previously.

Should another seat on the court open up, I think the pressures on Democrats will be such as to make the approval process a truly appaling experience.

One final note-regardless of your views on Judge Alito and the attempted filibuster, the only senator who clearly voted against his political interests was Joe Lieberman. Senator Lieberman is up for reelection next year and faces far greater risks in the Democratic primary than in the general as a result of his Iraq views, yet was the only blue state Democrat other than Cantwell (who arguably could use a "moderate" vote for reelection)that voted for cloture. If we define courage as doing what an office holder thinks is right, and not as it usually is in the press and the blogosphere as doing what I want you to do, Senator Lieberman is a courageous senator from any political perspective.
1.30.2006 11:46pm
Paul B (mail):
a quick correction-the two Hawaii senators are of course from a blue state. Their votes, as others here have pointed out presumably represent the desire to receive something unrelated to this matter in exchange.
1.30.2006 11:54pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Who do you thinks heavier, Rush Limbaugh or Edward Kennedy? Teddys gotta be pushing 325.
1.31.2006 6:46am
sammler (mail) (www):
Mr. Kopel's list is in error. Democrat Mark Pryor (AR), a gang-of-fourteen member, also voted for cloture.
1.31.2006 8:45am
James Kabala (mail):
Don't forget that Inouye is a Gang of Fourteen member. That may have influenced his decision to vote for cloture. Akaka, although about the same age as Inouye, is considerably junior in Senate service and much lower-profile, so perhaps he just decided to follow his colleague's lead.
1.31.2006 10:24am
Marcus1 (mail) (www):

Interestingly, I was watching Brit Hume the other night on Fox News, and he claimed to "have it on good authority" that Gonzales has "never been considered seriously by this president" as a SCOTUS pick. He mumbled it, but I Tivo'd back over it, and he said it clearly. Whatever that means.
2.1.2006 5:46pm