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.
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