So it’s official: Sonia Sotomayor has been confirmed as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The vote was 68-31 (with the ailing Ted Kennedy not voting). All 59 Democrats present voted “aye,” while Republicans split 31-9 “no.”
There are various ways to look at the nine GOPers voting for Sotomayor. Of eight Republican senators representing states carried by Barack Obama, six (Collins, Gregg, Lugar, Martinez, Snowe and Voinovich) voted aye, and two (Burr and Ensign) voted no. Four retiring Republicans (Bond, Gregg, Martinez and Voinovich) voted aye, two (Bunning and Brownback) voted no.
TDS Co-Editor Stan Greenberg put it another way in an online discussion at The New York Times site:
With but two exceptions — Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — every Republican senator supporting Judge Sotomayor is moderate, retiring or Hispanic. The power of the National Rifle Association in Republican primaries and the continuing ascendancy of race issues for the Republican base are the real drivers on the Republican side of the chamber. This is pretty mundane politics but a slap in the face for Hispanic voters and a powerful statement for voters in general about tolerance and the consuming issues of today’s Republican Party.
Since Republican right-wingers are upset about the defections they did experience, this pretty much looks like a lose-lose scenario for the GOP.