Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Coming Storm?
The Judiciary Committee voted on John Robert's nomination today, sending him on for a full Senate vote. The Judiciary Committe is composed of ten Republicans and eight Democrats. Three Democrats (Kohl, Feingold, Leahy) joined the Republicans in voting in favor of Roberts, five Democrats voted against Roberts (Schumer, Durbin, Kennedy, Feinstein, and Biden). It is clear that Roberts will be confirmed, but what remains unclear is by how large a majority. If a strong majority of Democrats vote against Roberts, Bush and the Republicans can and will credibly claim that Democrats have not voted on the basis of qualifications (see Scalia and Ginsburg whose combined senate wide no vote was 5) but rather on partisan affiliation. This will give Bush license to push the envelope on the next nomination, which, likely, will be handed down upon Robert's confirmation. The tea leaves are still hard to read as many Red State Democrats (Johnson, Pryor, Nelson, Baucus with Landrieu and Conrad possibly moving to the yes column as well) are expressing support for Roberts, but if such a scenario plays out look for a revival of "Nuclear" politics.