06 August 2009

Sotomayer Vote In About Two Hours

Sonia Sotomayor will be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice this afternoon. So far, the nose count is 64 Senators in favor, 31 Senators opposed and 5 Senators uncommitted.

The vote count for the incumbent nominees was as follows:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, September 29, 2005, 78 – 22

Justice Samuel A. Alito, January 31, 2006, 58 – 42

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, July 29, 1994, 87-9

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, August 03, 1993, 96-3

Justice Clarence Thomas, October 15, 1991, 52-48

Retired Justice David H. Souter, October 02, 1990, 90-9

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, February 03, 1988, 97-0

Justice Antonin Scalia, September 17, 1986, 98-0

Justice John Paul Stevens, December 17, 1975, 98-0

Justices Thomas and Alito were both approved by non-filibuster proof majorities and have turned out to be some of the most conservative and ideological Justices in U.S. History. He Democratic opponents of these nominees been less gutless in 1991 and 2006 we would have a better U.S. Supreme Court.

Alas, all the constitutional rules in the world can't make up for gutless Senators.

UPDATE: She's in by a vote of 68-31 ("Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) doesn't vote -- he's absent from the Senate, due to illness -- but he has expressed his support for Judge Sotomayor."). She will be sworn in on Saturday morning, with another fancy ceremony a month later.

This leaves her plenty of time to hire clerks, prepare for the "Long Conference" (the meeting following the summer recess at which the largest number of decisions to grant certiorari of the year are made by the court), and participate fully in the fall's oral arguments. It also free's her from having to participate in more panels of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which might have created more controversies in her confirmation process because they would be under a spotlight.

The odds remain good that President Obama, who has three and a half years left in his firm term, and could be re-elected, may get another chance to make a Supreme Court appointment during his service as President.

All eyes are now on Justice Stevens, the oldest of the justices and a core member of the court's liberal wing, who may not want to risk the chance that a more conservative President might have a chance to appoint his replacement. Justice Stevens has already served for more than twenty-three years on that nation's highest court.

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