Franken in his first real test:
Al Franken: The newest member of the Senate -- he was sworn in six days ago -- he might also be its most famous. And that means that whenever Franken speaks, his new colleagues (Democrats and Republicans) will be paying close attention. Franken is on a mission to prove to everyone that he can be a serious contributor in the Senate and now is as good a time as any to prove that. (Worth noting: Franken has the least seniority among Democrats on the panel so his opportunities to speak are likely to be somewhat few and far between.)Lindsey Graham, more so then the ranking Republicans Sessions, will be the determining factor in a bi partisan wave, or a party line vote:
Lindsey Graham: The South Carolina Republican is seen as one of his party's best debaters and most able communicators. But, early indications are that he will not be the Republican who takes it upon himself to try and eviscerate Sotomayor during his allotted questioning period. Graham said late last week that "I honestly think I could vote for her" -- a statement that was touted far and wide by Democrats to counter criticism of Sotomayor. Graham could be the linchpin vote for other wavering Republicans when Sotomayor comes up for a vote of the full Senate. If he backs her out of Judiciary, expect to see a number of Republicans -- particularly those in Democratic-leaning states -- follow his lead.Finally, Sen. Spector, who for the first time will be on the outside looking in as low man in the majority, rather than Chairman and leader:
Arlen Specter: Specter, the Pennsylvania now-Democrat, has been at the center of confirmation wars before. He was a critical -- perhaps the critical -- "no" vote on the Judiciary Committee that doomed Robert Bork's confirmation in 1987, and fashions himself as a major player in confirmation politics. The problem for Specter is that since his party switch in late April, he has been relegated to the second most junior slot of the Democratic side of the committee. How does Specter deal with that demotion? And, given that Specter is almost certain to face a primary challenge from his ideological left from Rep. Joe Sestak, is there any way he can be tough (at all) in his questioning of Sotomayor?Today is a good day for political junkies.