Monday, January 09, 2006
Alito prediction: he will win every vote John Roberts got, minus the following:
Feingold and Wyden will switch because of concerns about Presidential powers, not abortion. Kohl will switch because of Feingold. Dodd, Leahy, Levin and Murray will switch because Alito is too conservative generally; I'm a little puzzled, still, that Dodd and Murray voted for Roberts, and I find it hard to imagine they'll do it again.
Tom Carper I know nothing about. He voted for Roberts and he's not on the judiciary committee (no Democrat on the committee will vote yea this time), so I'm guessing he'll vote for Alito, but I really have no idea.
Because of uncertainty about Carper, and more generally because I think it's more likely Alito loses additional Democratic votes beyond those enumerated above than that any of those enumerated vote in favor, I predict Alito gets a total of 70 votes: 55 Republicans and 15 Democrats (including Jeffords as a Democrat).
Three votes that will be interesting to watch: Chafee, Salazar and Menendez.
If Chafee votes "no" that's an indication he is not worried about a primary challenge, and is worried about the general election. I think he'll vote to confirm, but I don't think a defection is impossible.
If Salazar votes "no" that's an indication he's trying to move up within the Democratic Party. He's not up for reelection this year, and two votes for conservative Bush justices might be too much for the Democratic money-guys. This might be an opportunity for him to throw a sop to the left that they'll remember when he's talking up his prospects as a VP selection.
Menendez, meanwhile, had no opportunity to vote on Roberts. Alito is a New Jersey native and Menendez faces a tough fight to retain the seat he was appointed to by now-Governor Corzine last year. Does it help his chances to vote for Alito or against him? I don't know enough about the dynamics of that race, but it doesn't seem impossible to me that Menendez turns out to be a surprise Democratic yes vote. But it's certainly the less-likely choice.