Will Elena Kagan Get Fewer Votes Because She's White?

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Responding to my post yesterday predicting that Elena Kagan will get fewer Senate votes than her predecessor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review agrees with my math, but adds that he doesn't think Republicans' fear of an angry base is all that will drive down Kagan's vote total. Ponnuru thinks race is a factor, too. I think he's entirely right. Voting against Sotomayor entailed voting against the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court. That's a tough vote to cast if you're a Republican. (If Obama had nominated Kagan first and Sotomayor on Monday, it would be even tougher because of Arizona's racial profiling law.) But Kagan is not the first woman on the Court, or the first Jew, or even the first Jewish woman. It's safe to vote against her, and I expect many Republicans will.

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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