They were one vote away ten days ago. Ten days later, with debate on the amendment having begun Monday and a vote expected tomorrow, they’re … still one vote away. Raw Story says game over, man, and Knight-Ridder thinks they’re right:
Republicans concede that it’s highly unlikely the Senate will pass the amendment. They say some senators who have voted for the amendment previously to avoid political backlash at home — knowing then that it wouldn’t pass the Senate — would likely vote “no” if it looked like the amendment were about to pass.
So, ironically, if the amendment draws only 63 or 64 votes instead of 66, it probably means they got the 67th vote. But where can they get it? Mitch McConnell’s the most high-profile Republican holdout and wants to succeed Frist as majority leader, but he was on one of the Sunday talk shows to defend his position and likely won’t flip-flop that quickly. Byrd is a better bet: he used to support the amendment before switching sides and he’s got an election coming up in a red-leaning state.
NRO backs the amendment for the dumbest possible reason: because it’ll show them judges a thing or two.
The opponents are right to say that there is no epidemic of burnt flags in this country. There is, however, an epidemic of judicial high-handedness. Some years ago Kathleen Sullivan of Stanford Law School classed the flag-burning amendment and other proposed amendments designed to remedy errant decisions of the Supreme Court as examples of “mutiny” against its “authority.” It is precisely the defiance the amendment represents — a defiance on behalf of self-government — that recommends it to us.
I oppose it (barely), but it’s cool that they’re voting on it. Gratuitous political intrigue is always welcome.