Well guess what kids, it doesn’t matter anyway.
The Republicans are going to file a cloture request within a couple hours. Invoking cloture would limit debate to 30 hours, followed immediately by a vote.
But a cloture motion requires 60 votes to pass, and 43 Democrats and Jim Jeffords are committed to voting against the motion. Basically, the GOP is giving up, knowing they can’t bust the filibuster, but by doing this they can paint the Dems as obstructionists. It carries other negative political risks for the Republicans, though, including Bill Frist losing the first significant floor battle in his time as Majority Leader.
They’ll keep Estrada on the backburner for awhile, hoping that some Democrats will gradually decide to oppose a filibuster. If debate were to ever end, after all, Estrada would surely be confirmed. Every Republican is firmly behind him and four other Democrats also support him. But 51+4 does not equal the 60 needed to end debate.
Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, december.