#### Comment Preferences

• ##### i'm confused...(none)
two things:

a) I heard Frist being interviewed on NPR this morning regarding Kerry's filibuster, and he did not sound confident that he could definitely stop it.  He said nothing about having 60 votes in favor of cloture.  He said he was pretty sure they'd be having an up-or-down vote on Tuesday, but he didn't say anything about having it tied up already.  So why all the nay-saying?

b) I've seen discussion in some threads about how Frist needs 60 votes for cloture, not that the Democrats need 41 votes against cloture.  (My math may be fuzzy here, as I'm unclear on how this works).  So if the Democrats who have said they're not going to participate in the filibuster stay home that day, then Frist may have a hard time wrangling up the 60 votes.  Or they could even be in the Senate, and not participate in the filibuster, but decide not to vote "yes" on cloture.  Aren't there all sort of weird parlimentary moves that could happen?  Couldn't Byrd vote "yes" on Alito but decline to participate in a cloture vote?  Just asking, because I've seen this discussed tangentially, but no one seems to be able to explain it fully.

Basically, I'm confused because I don't think Kerry would go out on a limb without a gameplan.  And any media reports about senior Democrats thinking this isn't going to work, etc., just seem like a strategy to play down expectations.

• ##### Basic run-down(none)
In order to invoke cloture the Senate needs 60 votes no matter how many are voting.

If all Dems refuse to show up, then the Senate can proceed to a vote on a "unanimous consent," because there would be no one in the chamber to object.  So at least 1 Dem needs to be present.

As for vote count, the math is simple:  There are at least 5 Democrats (Byrd, Johnson, Nelson, Landrieu, Salazar) committed to voting for cloture.  With 55 Republicans that makes it 60.  Additionally, Biden announced that he will not support a filibuster, which makes 61.  I am fairly certain that other red-state Dems, even though they will be opposing Alito will vote for cloture.

• ##### hmm...(none)
Did those 5 Democrats say they would vote for cloture, or did they say that they wouldn't participate in a filibuster?  It seems like those are two different things to me (or at least, there's enough wiggle-room in there if they want it).

Salazar, for example, is voting against Alito (right?).  So if he votes against Alito and then leaves town, it could make it that much more difficult for Frist.

I dunno, I don't want to have false hope, but Frist did not sound confident this morning on NPR.

• ##### Well actually it cant work that way(none)
The vote on cloture comes BEFORE voting on Alito.  So he can;t vote against Alito and then leave town.

And "voting for cloture" and "not participating in a flibuster" is one and the same.

Landrieu said outright that she will vote to invoke cloture.  Salazar and Biden said that they won't support a filibuster.  I doubt that Dorgan or Conrad would support a filibuster either.  I predict that the cloture motion gets at least 65 votes.