Senate Republicans Won't Fight Sotomayor Nomination

It looks like the Sotomayor nomination fight is over before it began:

Top Senate Republican strategists tell POLITICO that, barring unknown facts about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the GOP plans no scorched-earth opposition to her confirmation as a Supreme Court justice.

More than 24 hours after the White House unveiling, no senator has come out in opposition to Sotomayor's confirmation.

"The sentiment is overwhelming that the Senate should do due diligence but should not make a mountain out of a molehill," said a top Senate Republican aide. "If there's no 'there' there, we shouldn't try to create one."

Barring something currently unforeseen, this one is over.

Even so, the process of the appearance of a fight still holds a lot of potential benefits for Democrats and progressives. First, a weak opposition to Sotomayor by Senate Republicans could open a real "rootsgap" between Republican Senate leaders and an activist base that has long rabidly focused on the judiciary. Second, Democrats can continue to concern troll the racially charged conservative media attacks on Sotomayor, which threaten both to drive a further wedge between Latinos and Republicans, and also to further the process story of "Republicans in series electoral trouble."

Confirming Sotomayor will be a substantive victory for Democrats (at least compared to the sort of nominee a Republican would have picked, if not over Souter's rulings). Right now, however, with that victory all but guaranteed, we need to keep hammering on the process of the fight, because it can do real long-term damage to the conservative movement and the Republican Party.

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