Judge Alito is now Justice Alito, voted in, as Paul Mirengoff writes, on fairly straight party lines, 58-42.
By pushing a filibuster vote upon their fellow Democrats, John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy have achieved quite a bit already. Among other things:
1. Absent the filibuster effort, lots of attention would mistakenly have been focused on whether Judge Alito would reach the filibuster-proof level of 60 votes on final confirmation. If he were to fall short of that, the media would proclaim that the vote level sends a warning shot that another nominee like Alito could be filibustered. By forcing an actual vote on cloture, Kerry and Kennedy have deprived the Left of this pretend-filibuster argument. The starting point now for analysis of the politics of any subsequent nomination is that a nominee like Alito can expect to receive more than 70 votes on cloture.
2. Kerry and Kennedy have turned the wrath of the Left against those 19 Democrats (nearly half the caucus) who voted for cloture. (Byron York quotes one angry, obscene diatribe from DailyKos.) I don