Josh Green:

It's probably not to soon to draw this conclusion: out of the gate, Elena Kagan has been less controversial than her immediate predecessor, Sonia Sotomayor. Here's why that's interesting: despite the smoother reception, Kagan will probably garner fewer votes in the Senate than the 68 votes Sotomayor got.

This is less a reflection on Kagan or Sotomayor than a marker of just how much Washington has changed since last August. The difference is the increased awareness among Republican senators of the energy and anger in the conservative base.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.