It also marks the first time since 1968 that a Dem senator voted against a SCOTUS nominee by a Dem president.
The Democrats have finally broken the Supreme Court confirmation process. They torpedoed Bork, and then Douglas Ginsburg (a former law professor mine). They tried to stop Clarence Thomas, who was only confirmed 52-48.
After Republicans went back to the traditional confirmation standard, with a 96-3 confirmaiton for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 89-9 for Breyer, Dems resorted to the same we-vote-no-unless-we-agree standard once there was a Republican president again. Roberts was confirmed 78-22, and even then only because they were holding their fire for the second nomination, which was already in the pipeline. That second nominee, Alito, was only confirmed 58-42 in a Senate with 55 Republicans.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. Sotomayor was confirmed 68-31, and yesterday Kagan was confirmed 63-37.
It's so disappointing that the media didn't pay more attention. Kagan had less than 50% support for confirmation, the lowest numbers ever recorded (that I know of) for a successful nomination.
Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominations will end up being a serious liability in his 2012 reelection, given the opinions they're writing and joining.
And some Dem senators will pay a serious price for voting to confirm them. It's possible the first casualty will be Blanche Lincoln, who despite her own terrible poll numbers, chose yesterday to vote for Kagan after the NRA came out in force against the nomination.
You don't want to incur the wrath of the NRA in Arkansas. Ask Al Gore.
Maybe Senator Lincoln already decided her reelection was hopeless, so she decided to back her president and remind Arkansans why they're willing to kick her out of office. If she ever had a chance of winning, yesterday's vote likely destroyed those prospects.