Bench Memos

Collins Will Vote For Alito

Senator Susan Collins of Maine has announced her intention to vote for Alito.

Collins was one of three Republicans whom some saw as possible votes against Alito. The other two — who haven’t yet announced their positions — are Collins’s colleague from Maine, Olympia Snowe, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. One other Republican who is expected to vote yes, Senator Stevens, apparently also hasn’t announced his position.

I believe that 86 senators have now declared their positions: 55 for Alito, 31 against. Of the remaining Democrats, four (Conrad, Dorgan, Landrieu, and Pryor) are possible yes votes.

So it looks like Alito will get between 56 and 62 votes — probably 58 to 61.

There will probably be a lot of attention focused on whether Alito reaches the filibuster-proof level of 60, but this seems to me beside the point. There’s no actual prospect of a filibuster, as a number of Democrats who will vote against him have already made clear that they won’t support a filibuster. And I don’t see how the difference between 56-59 votes and 60-62 votes would have any effect on any subsequent Supreme Court nomination.

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