Sheldon Whitehouse has steamrolled over the Republican caucus, and his nominee for the Rhode Island federal District Court, John J. “Jack” McConnell, Jr., will get a floor vote which Democrats have the votes to win.
The final vote was 63-33 (with one “present”). By my count watching the vote, here are the Republicans who voted in favor of cloture (limiting debate):
After it was clear the Democrats had the votes, Republicans Chambliss and Isakson also voted for the cloture petition.
After the vote, Harry Reid said it will make “this will make the atmosphere around here so much more pleasant.”
This is a bad vote for these Republican Senators. If they think that the courtesies will be reciprocated by the Democrats in the future, they are sorely mistaken.
(Added) Sheldon Whitehouse was not very gracious in his remarks after the vote. He said (my paraphrase) that sometimes there are interest groups who try to control the Senate, but today is a day when the institution prevailed.
Updates: Senator Mitch McConnell’s statement is a must read, in that he completely debunked the claim that there was no precedent for filibustering District Court nominees. In fact, Senator McConnell rattled off a long list of District Court and higher court judicial filibusters by Democrats, ending with this:
“Mr. President [of the Senate], I agree that filibusters of judicial nominees should be used sparingly. Unfortunately, our friends on the other side of the aisle have filibustered judicial nominees whenever it suited their purposes to do so, whether it was to defeat nominees like Miguel Estrada, or to leverage other nominees like with the Stewart nomination. Given their persistent enthusiasm for the judicial filibuster, I do not view our Democratic friends as the arbiters of filibuster propriety.
On the floor vote at approximately 5:50 p.m. today, the vote was 50-44. I’m pretty sure that all of the Republicans who voted for closture voted against the nomination, but I’m checking.