Alito Confirmed 58-42
A 58-42 vote. That was better than I was expecting. Alito deserves more votes than Clarence Thomas for the simple reason that Alito, unlike Thomas, had significant time on the bench, whereas Thomas was and still is unqualified.
To my surprise, only four Democrats broke ranks and voted for Alito. Who were they?
Ben Nelson, Nebraska
Kent Conrad, North Dakota
Tim Johnson, South Dakota
Robert Byrd, West Virginia
Keep in mind that Johnson isn’t even up for election again until 2008, whereas the other three are up this year, and were afraid of a backlash from evangelicals in their states if they voted against Alito. And as much scorn as I heap onto Joe Lieberman, he stuck with the caucus on this vote, as did Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor. And that makes what Tim Johnson did all the more questionable.
Yet it needs to be said that even if Reid had kept all the Democrats united against Alito, he would have still lost this vote 54-46. The problem is that there aren’t enough Democrats to give the Senate GOP moderates a reason to think about opposing a Bush nominee. But what about principle? How concerned about the rights of women are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to vote for Alito?
A tip of the hat to Harry Reid for getting this many Democrats to hold together.
Thanks to MSNBC for the picture