Kagan Prediction — Off by 3


A few months back I poked through the Supreme Court confirmation votes of all sitting senators to try to predict how Elena Kagan‘s nomination to the high court would fare.  At the time, I predicted 60 certain votes for Kagan, with 9 questionable senators and 31 firm nos.

The final vote tally was 63 for and 37 against. Of the 60 firm votes in my prediction, I got just one wrong: Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). I counted him as a yes because he’d never voted against a Supreme Court nominee. He did oppose Kagan’s nomination to the solicitor general post, and I should have placed more weight on that.

I correctly picked three of the five GOP votes for Kagan: Judd Gregg (N.H.), Susan Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME).

There were 9 senators I put in a “lean” category. I wrongly put Blanche Lincoln (AR) in the “lean no” column, and I was wrong to put Lindsey Graham (SC) in the same category. Both voted for Kagan. But I was correct in calling Richard Lugar (IN) as a “lean yes” and Lamar Alexander as a “lean no.”  Ben Nelson, in retrospect, should have been counted as a firm no, but I stuck him in “lean no.”

I didn’t try to make a prediction about three senators: Scott Brown (R-MA), Arlen Specter (D-PA) and George Lemieux (R-FL).  Brown and Lemieux voted no, while Specter reversed his no vote on Kagan’s Justice Dept. nomination and voted for her.

The new senator from West Virginia, Carte Goodwin (D), wasn’t seated at the time of the nomination. But he voted yes, just like I predicted for the man he replaced, Robert Byrd.

(Photo courtesy White House/Flickr)


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