Last month, when four Republican senators joined Democrats to filibuster the re-authorization of the Patriot Act, a number of lawmakers and journalists referred to the group as “bipartisan.” On December 21, Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, for example, said he was “pleased the Republican leadership listened to a bipartisan majority of us in the Senate.” Many other Democrats said much the same thing. In the press, the New York Times used the phrase “bipartisan coalition” twice in the first three paragraphs of its December 22 story on the issue, referring to the “bipartisan coalition of senators who…derailed a measure to update the act.”
So this is the question. So far, three Democratic senators — Ben Nelson, Robert Byrd, and Tim Johnson — have said they will vote for Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. If Alito is confirmed by the full Senate, will Democrats, the Times, and other refer to the “bipartisan majority” and the “bipartisan coalition” that supported Alito?