Landrieu not only voted Wednesday against confirming former Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Southwick as a U.S. Appeals Court judge but also opposed bringing his nomination to a floor vote. Civil rights groups lobbied against Southwick's confirmation. He was confirmed, 59 to 38.
Landrieu and other Louisiana Democrats long have counted on a 100,000-vote margin or more out of Orleans Parish (New Orleans). But because of the heavy black emigration, its total vote was around 75,000 last Saturday and was carried by Republican U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal in his election as governor.
House Republican leaders, who doubted being able to override President Bush's promised veto of a second State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion, were pleasantly surprised that Democrats did not pick up any additional Republican votes when the bill was passed Thursday.
One Republican who voted for the previous SCHIP bill -- Rep. Vernon Ehlers of Michigan -- opposed the slightly reduced second bill. The 43 Republicans supporting the bill are not enough to sustain a veto. Although polls show popular support for SCHIP, GOP leaders see defeat of government-expanded health insurance as a step toward restoring confidence in the conservative base.
Rep. Jim Marshall, who faces a serious challenge for election to a third term from his Georgia district, was the only Democrat to vote against the second bill. Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, who was a second Democrat against SCHIP the first time around, changed to support it Thursday.