As I noted in the last round of questioning of Sonia Sotomayor yesterday, Republican senators seemed increasingly focused on the Second Amendment. Sotomayor’s evasiveness did not help her cause. Shortly after her questioning ended, the NRA announced it would officially oppose her confirmation. Some question then arose in conservative circles as to whether the vote would be “scored” — that is, count for the score which the NRA uses to rate incumbents on Second Amendment issues. In a close race it can make the difference, particularly in a Red state. I contacted the NRA last night. A spokesman promptly replied by email: “It’s an important vote and it will count.”
What does that mean in practical terms? It may influence a shaky Republican or two who might think twice about “deferring” to the president’s nominee. But the real impact is not with regard to Sotomayor, but in the 2010 senate races. For each Democrat who votes for her, there will be at least a small price — a ding from the NRA. Might it be significant in races in Arkansas (Blanche Lincoln), Colorado (Michael Bennet), North Dakota (Byron Dorgan), and elsewhere? We’ll know in 2010. But if nothing else, Sotomayor’s evasive performance may cost some senators who vote for her some heartburn in 2010.