Predicting the Sotomayor Vote:

The National Journal's Ninth Justice blog has posted expert predictions on the timing and final tally of the vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Most of the "experts" they asked expect a vote before the August recess, and somewhere between 63 and 80 votes in favor of her confirmation. 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. Of course, this prediction is worth about as much as the paper it's printed on.

DNL (mail):
Numbers, here, are boring. She'll be confirmed, and the vote total doesn't really matter.

What I'd rather see is a poll on how specific Senators will vote. Let's see if the wisdom of crowds can predict that.
6.4.2009 7:26pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
I have to wonder if there's anyone Obama could have picked that would have gotten the votes Clinton's picks got. That is, if Obama nominated a Ginsburg (96-3) or a Breyer (87-9), could she get that many votes? (I suspect some answers would be, no, because Obama voted against Roberts and Alito.)
6.4.2009 7:29pm
Justin (mail):
The only 2 people I can think of who would have a realistic shot at 90 votes are Tatel and Garland. Both would have been poor choices for different reasons.
6.4.2009 7:34pm
rosetta's stones:
ruufles, Clinton's opposition was making an effort to play nice, after the Bork/Thomas fiascos, trying to set a good example. The honorables are beyond example, at this point, so nobody gets 90 votes anymore, I suspect.

She's in, and the final tally only depends on whether she says something stupid in the meantime, and I doubt she'll do that. Smart pick, decades on the bench, she's not likely to choke under pressure. If she approaches the 80 figure, it'll mean she's at flood tide.
6.4.2009 7:39pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
So if Souter were replaced by Tatel or Garland, he might get 90 votes. Presumably this is because those two are the moderates on the short list with a wide paper trail.

Now suppose Kennedy is retiring and Obama decides to play nice (or forced with a R senate) and nominates one of those two. Still 90 votes? Kennedy would be 80 at the end of a 2nd Obama term, but just suppose he retires before Garland hits 60.
6.4.2009 7:41pm
If the question is the people that Obama could have picked, then I would bet someone like Richard Posner could have got 90 votes, since all the Republicans will be in favor and most Democrats would follow their president. But, of course, Obama wouldn't have nominated such a person.
6.4.2009 7:54pm
Ben P:

If the question is the people that Obama could have picked, then I would bet someone like Richard Posner could have got 90 votes, since all the Republicans will be in favor and most Democrats would follow their president. But, of course, Obama wouldn't have nominated such a person.

I don't think that's really right at all. Posner's obviously a genius, but his Judicial opinions are are far to controversial (not to mention his odd politics) to put him in contention.

For all we talk about "genius" that's really not what most people want on the Supreme Court, true Genius all to often comes with eccentricity.

Loiuis Brandeis is probably one or two individuals who was truly acclaimed as a legal scholar before reaching the court, yet his nomination was bitterly contested.

Ask yourself, when the potential nominee took positions like Brandeis did ever getting confirmed today?
6.4.2009 8:21pm
dmv (www):

Posner's obviously a genius. . .

I dissent.
6.4.2009 8:29pm
Cato The Elder (mail):
I really feel like Sotomayor reaches for a possible discrimination explanation if the law allows it, to an unconscionable extent. I am talking in the same manner Obama meant when justified his vote against the nomination Chief Justice Roberts with the "95% to 5%" rhetoric. I listened to the Ricci oral arguments, and didn't particularly enjoy her tone and the rigor of questioning, or the "reaching" I sensed there. I disagree with her Critical Studies' views and her perspective of judging, but many people can parrot that sort of stuff and not let it affect them - but in my opinion, just from reading various statements and quotes in Wikipedia, she has an unhealthy obsession with race. I tried to approach another troubling opinion on the accommodation of a disabled student and ADA legislation, but I don't believe I have the necessary capacity to understand the legal issues in dispute there, not being a lawyer myself. I almost think she would be a liberal judge I could live with, admire even, aside from those concerns, since she seems to hew pretty closely to precedent in most cases otherwise, the kind of jurisprudential philosophy I enjoy. I am a fan of the "ball and strikes" analogy Roberts used at his confirmation hearings, but many analyses of her style are partisan or biased (SCOTUSBlog, NYT, Wikipedia). Can some conservative here alleviate my concerns? (*I am explicitly not looking for analyses from those with liberal POVs*)
6.4.2009 9:01pm
Cato The Elder (mail):
Actually my main problem is that most of the analyses I've read are shallow, not so much that they are partisan or biased. I understand the criticism of the term "judicial activism" and cringe whenever I read it, so I'm looking for a more sophisticated criticism with terms I can investigate myself.
6.4.2009 9:04pm
Cato The Elder (mail):
One more thing, I think I should add - I'm not asking for some sort of propaganda piece or anything like that, more like "this decision isn't so bad, because she reaches this view of the law from this precedent, from which you can argue by this principle" sort of stuff. I really liked Kopel's Second Amendment thread yesterday where some were trying to explain how the Second Circuit reached its decision in that case. I'm really looking to understand, so any links to other criticisms or papers would be very helpful.
6.4.2009 9:13pm
Posner is a bad example, but obviously a Democratic president could have made a big announcement about how he wanted to depoliticize the Court and the nomination process, and nominated Michael McConnell or someone and have the nominee confirmed 100-0 (or 99-0, since I guess there isn't a junior senator from Minnesota). Obviously, Obama isn't in business to depoliticize anything.

As long as we confine ourselves to the real world, I think it's pretty clear, as was noted above, that many Republicans under Clinton hoped to reduce the partisanship surrounding Supreme Court nominations and confirmations, but their gestures were not reciprocated, and there will not be a non-partisan Supreme Court nomination or confirmation in the near future. I predict that no Supreme Court nominee in my remaining lifetime will garner a majority from the opposing party in the Senate.
6.4.2009 9:24pm
Psalm91 (mail):

I really feel like Sotomayor reaches for a possible discrimination explanation if the law allows it, to an unconscionable extent."

Tom Goldstein is a Democratic partisan? Seriously, isn't the only relevant dataset the universe of her cases? How can one casual comment or Wikipedia override hundreds of cases?
6.4.2009 11:42pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
The only reason she'll get in is because the GOP is very, very dumb. If the GOP can't turn public opinion against a judge who joined a group that not only constantly supports illegal activity but that gave an award to someone who proposed genocide, then Obama might as well just nominate Noam Chomsky or Michael Moore and start forming worker's councils.
6.4.2009 11:45pm

Democratic President nominating Michael McConnell? Guy is on record explicitly opposing Roe. If McCain won, even he wouldn't nominate him because there's no chance this Senate is confirming him.

Speaking of Sotomayor confirmation, here's my prediction:

59 Democrats all vote Aye. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are only Republicans who I'm sure will vote for her too. That's 61 votes at least.

Shelby, Sessions, Chambliss, Brownback, Roberts, Bunning, Vitter, Wicker, Inhofe, Coburn, DeMint and Thune are 12 probable Nays IMO. That leavs 26 Republicans I'm not sure about. Let's say they split 13-13. That would mean 74-25 final vote. Sounds about right.
6.5.2009 2:29am
WTOBJ (mail):
Isn't she $400K in debt?
6.5.2009 10:16am
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Isn't she $400K in debt?

Most of it is mortgages, with $15K for dental and credit cards. She has over $1 million in assets so I don't know what the fuss is.
6.5.2009 10:37am
Steve P. (mail):
Isn't she $400K in debt?

$418K in debt, with assets valued at $1,180K (kinda impressed/surprised they released this information). Basic math alert: she is worth about $762,000.

But OMG, she has a mortgage! And some dental bills! Totally unqualified.
6.5.2009 11:25am
I'd be surprised if she got more than 70 votes.
6.5.2009 12:09pm
Mark N. (www):
One reason Clinton's nominees got a large number of votes is that he did some behind-the-scenes vetting with prominent Republicans. Obviously none of his floated proposals were going to be conservatives, but he let Republicans effectively veto a few possible picks, buying their acquiescence in appointing one of the remaining choices (in particular, Orrin Hatch axed Bruce Babbitt as a possibility).

Although liberals on many issues, Breyer and Ginsburg also had reputations as moderate conservatives in less hot-button areas of law (Ginsburg tends to be conservative on criminal procedure and some areas of business law, and Breyer is also fairly pro-business, and especially reluctant to strike down laws or reverse administrative decisions if it can be avoided).
6.6.2009 3:47am

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.