As I noted yesterday, only nine Republicans voted in favor of Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and Electoral-Vote.com has the list and a probably explanation for why they felt able to do it:
The votes from the retiring Senators, along with Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are pretty easy to understand. As for the others, here’s what I think motivated their votes:
- Lamar Alexander isn’t up for re-election until 2014. He faced no Republican opposition in 2008, and defeated his Democratic opponent by 34 points. Most likely, his vote on this nomination will be largely forgotten assuming he decides to run for re-election in 5 years.
- Lindsey Graham is also up for re-election in 2014. He defeated his Republican primary opponent by 33 points and his Democratic opponent by 15 points.
- Richard Lugar is a long-term incumbent and faced only token opposition in 2006.
For all three, a yes vote on Sotomayor was basically without any significant political risk.