Based on conversations with Republican sources in the Senate, there will be no filibuster, and such an effort would almost certainly fail if the GOP tried it. Based on my current count, at least three Republicans, and maybe one or two more, will end up voting for her, and likely all of the Democrats will.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a fight over her nomination…
Tea Party pressure is particularly important in the context of the Kagan nomination when you give it a close eye in the Senate. For example, Bennett’s Utah buddy, Sen. Orrin Hatch, is a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will conduct televised hearings on the Kagan pick.
Hatch loves to play the role of the reasonable guy, willing to cut deals across the aisle. But Bennett had that reputation, too — which is why he just got whacked. Hatch, who is up for reelection again in 2012, may not want to play the go-between role again.