One note on "the numbers" in the Senate. I keep hearing people say that Democrats have "the numbers" to get Obama's nom thru -- but that's NOT technically correct.

Dems currently have 59 votes, NOT 60 -- and they need 60, per the rules, to overcome a filibuster.

That said --- the outcome of the MN Senate race should be done by the time the Senate gets to a final vote on Sotomayor, and it looks like it's leaning in Franken's favor. That would give Reid 60 votes.

BUT --- there's always an appeal to SCOTUS for Coleman -- and national Republicans have been pushing him to leave the option open. This nominee fight -- IF it gets ugly -- COULD encourage this highest appeal for Coleman.

AND --- there's always Specter, Mr "I'm not going to be an automatic 60th vote." (Tho his voting record since switching might suggest otherwise.)

A senior Senate Democratic
aide predicts to Fox, however, "She's going to be confirmed with more than 60 votes."

The source says Senate Republicans appear to be less critical of Sotomayor than the conservative groups, suggesting senators might not be anxious for this fight. "Groups will hit this hard. It helps with fundraising, but Senate Republicans don't really appear to have the appetite right now," the source said.

Now --- the confirmation process:

It SHOULD take about 60-80 days for the entire process, from nomination to confirmation.

BUT ---- the Ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions, has suggested 60 days might be needed just to prepare for the hearings. He has said it might be better to hold the hrngs in SEPTEMBER.

Reid and Chairman Leahy have taken great pains NOT to antagonize Republicans, so both have not pushed on a timeline. Perhaps that will change today.

That said --- we should expect that meeting Obama's deadline of confirmation BEFORE the August recess begins on the 2nd week of that month will be a top priority for Reid et al.