David Ingram of BLT reports two interesting and welcome pieces of news:
1. Republican senators McCain, Graham, and Isakson—all of whom recently voted for cloture on the controversial nomination of John J. McConnell Jr.—have stated that they will vote against cloture on the Liu nomination.
The McConnell nomination received 63 votes for cloture, so Liu’s loss of McCain, Graham, and Isakson would seem to put his nomination in serious peril. (The other Republican senators who voted for cloture on the McConnell nomination were Murkowski, Chambliss (Isakson’s Georgia colleague), Kirk, Collins, Snowe, Brown, Alexander, and Thune.)
Clarification: The 63 votes for cloture on the McConnell nomination didn’t include Senator Akaka, who didn’t vote, so Republicans need to swing a net five votes (McCain, Graham, Isakson, and two more) against cloture to block the Liu nomination. (Sixty votes are needed for cloture.)
2. Democratic senator Jim Webb has stated that he would vote against Liu’s confirmation (but that he won’t vote against cloture). Let’s hope that other Democratic moderates—including Ben Nelson of Nebraska and especially Jon Tester of Montana (which is in the Ninth Circuit)—also make clear their opposition to Liu.