Senate Democrats were evenly split for and against John Roberts as the Senate voted 78-22 to confirm him as chief justice. Those with well-known presidential aspirations–including Senators Joe Biden (Del.), Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and John Kerry (Mass.)–bowed to the demands of left-wing interest groups and voted “no.”
Nearly all Democrats in the red states (won by President Bush in 2004) voted for Roberts–an indication they feared retribution from voters for opposing a Republican nominee generally believed to be a conservative. One exception was Sen. Evan Bayh (D.-Ind.), traditionally portrayed as a moderate, who voted against Roberts. Bayh has also voted this year against the confirmations of Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. These votes are strong indicators that Bayh–like Biden, Clinton and Kerry–is pondering a 2008 presidential run and is more worried these days about Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire than about his own constituents in Indiana.