"Alito looked me in the eye and told me that he is not an ideologue"

Some of the reasons why the filibuster will fail.

Published January 30, 2006 2:46PM (EST)

John Kerry and Ted Kennedy need 41 votes to defeat a cloture motion this afternoon on the nomination of Samuel Alito. Here are some of the reasons why they won't get them:

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, who will vote to confirm Alito: "I know not exactly what kind of Justice Samuel Alito may actually be -- no one does. But my considered judgment from his record, from his answers to my questions, and from his obvious intelligence and sincerity, leads me to believe him to be an honorable man, who loves his country, loves his Constitution, and will give of his best. Can we really ask for more?"

Democratic North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, who is leaning toward voting for Alito and won't support a filibuster: "Judge Alito looked me in the eye and told me that he is not an ideologue. He promised he would not bring an ideological agenda to the Court. He said his commitment is to protect and defend the liberties set out in the Constitution. I take him at his word."

Democratic South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, who will vote to confirm Alito: "I am troubled by Judge Alito's apparent views on matters such as executive power, his past opposition to the principle of one person, one vote, and his narrow interpretation of certain civil rights laws. Even so, I cannot accept an argument that his views are so radical that the Senate is justified in denying his confirmation."

Democratic Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who hasn't announced her vote on Alito but opposes a filibuster anyway: "It is imperative that we remain focused on creating the tools New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast will need to rebuild ... We simply cannot afford to bring the Senate to a halt at a time when we need its action the most."

Democratic Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, who will vote against Alito but won't support a filibuster: "While I personally cannot support Judge Alito's confirmation on the Supreme Court, there is not a smoking gun in his past that would warrant 'extraordinary circumstances' and subsequently a filibuster against his nomination."

Democratic Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, who will vote against Alito but won't support a filibuster: "I see no reasonable prospect that a filibuster would work."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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