1. This 63–37 vote was a victory for judicial conservatives. No one expected her to be defeated, but no one expected her to receive 37 no votes, either. Sotomayor’s vote last summer was 68–31.
2. The climate regarding judicial nominations has been radically altered. There is now a significant political price to pay for nominating people who fail to respect the Constitution or who do not have a record of judicial restraint. One need look no further than the opposition statements to Kagan from GOP Senate candidates around the country. Even some Senate candidates who had been for Sotomayor just last year joined the large and loud chorus of those on the campaign trail who understood the dangers of supporting Kagan. If Republicans pick up a half dozen seats in November, which is very possible, President Obama will be looking at a totally different set of possibilities should Justice Ginsburg or another Supreme retire.
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