Ledbetter bill clears Senate

With every Democrat, every female Republican, and Arlen Specter voting for it.

This starts the process of delivering on commitments to key Democratic constituencies.

Every Democrat present voted for the bill, including Blanche Lincoln and both Nelsons. (Only Kennedy missed voting.)

Snowe, Collins, Murkowski, Hutchison (!) and Specter crossed over to vote for it as well. (I.e., every woman in the Senate voted Yea.)

The cloture vote was even more lopsided, 72-23. If that means that some Republicans will tend to support cloture even while voting against the underlying legislation, we’re in clover.

Given that the bill was going to pass, I guess I’m a little surprised the leadership and the Chamber of Commerce insisted that so many Republicans cast a futile and politically damaging vote. Or maybe their hatred of trial lawyers is genuine enough to warp their political judgment. As long as the bill passed, I’m happy to have lots of Republicans voting Nay.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com