Wisconsin Republicans Stand on the Verge of Total, Veto-Proof Power in the United States Senate
by Michael Barone
It’s Tuesday afternoon, and I’m standing in the cold outside the U.S. Capitol with a reporter from my paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I can’t see the Senate, but the Capitol has been shrouded in a white cloud of smoke and the occasional bill is being read aloud. You can hear the clicking of pens and the shuffling of papers as the Senate tries to work out a deal.
Suddenly, the clouds of smoke dissipate. We’re back in the sunlight, and the Senate has just approved a vote on the nomination of John Roberts as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. The vote, by a vote of 51-54, has been preceded by a procedural vote in which Republicans agreed to let Democrats have a little say on the nomination. The procedural vote allows Democrats, who control the Senate, to offer up three “yes” votes: two Democrats and one independent.
As I stand in front of the Capitol, I wonder about tomorrow.
The Senate will officially vote on Roberts’s confirmation at noon. But for the moment, it’s still Senate business. That means our reporters won’t be allowed inside, and I don’t know how much time we have to get a sense of what’s going on. I’ll have more updates on-air, and we’ll also have updates on our live blog here at the Post-Gazette, on our website, and on Facebook.
So, let me ask you a question: What do you think the Senate will do with Roberts’s nomination?
The vote that has just occurred is just one in a series of votes likely to happen over the course of the next few months, and all of them are part of a concerted effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move the confirmation process beyond the public comment stage (and the so-called “filibuster,” which is a