Thursday, September 29, 2005

More on the Confirmation

Well I for one am not surprised at all by the overall vote on John Roberts nomination. In this post two weeks ago I predicted a 14-4 committee vote and 70-75 votes on the floor. I was a little high on the committee and a little low on the floor predictions, but pretty close overall. Senate roll call is here.

The breakdown of Democratic votes shows a clear pattern. Senators from Republican leaning states tended to vote yes while those from Democratic leaning states voted no. (I'm trying to avoid the red-blue state labels.) In that sense, one could argue that these senators were accurately reflecting the views of the people who elected them. The counter argument, of course, is that judicial nominations should not be a partisan, political issue. But that's exactly what Schumer wants the process to be and it looks like that's what he's getting. So Althouse does have a point here - this is about results, not qualifications.

There are exceptions to the overall pattern, but many of them are easily explainable. Evan Bayh voted no because he's running for president in 2008 and feels that appealing to left-leaning primary voters is important to his chances - he already has plenty of moderate credentials. Harry Reid voted no because he's the party leader. I strongly suspect he would have voted yes if he were not part of the leadership, both because of the state he's from and his own fairly moderate positions. Tom Harkin may hail from a state that George Bush won in 2004, but he's a very liberal Senator, so his opposition is no surprise. On the other side there are a few that are harder to explain, such as Levin (MI), Leahy (VT), Dodd (CT). I suspect their votes are a combination of actual principle - Roberts really is extremely qualified for the position - and tactical voting to position themselves to oppose what could be a more vulnerable nominee for the O'Connor seat.

21 comments:

Marie said...

Bayh voted "No" because he lacked accurate data to make a decision.

best wishes marie

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