At that point, things will start to get interesting again. The Senate can go three different ways: 1) Rubber-stamp Consent to the nomination; 2)Full and open debate on the nomination; or 3) Filibuster against the nomination.
The Bush Machine will surely attempt to get a rubber-stamp Consent, in order to close the deal as quickly as they can, with no troublesome questions being raised. Following the Rules of the Senate, someone will "move the previous question" and the Chair will respond in the format specified by the Rules, which are exactly . . .
"'Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?' And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn -- except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate Rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting -- then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of."
So to cut off debate at this point, before it has even begun, the pro-Alito forces need to get at least sixty votes, which is three-fifths of the number of "Senators duly chosen and sworn," as specified in the Rules, above. Unless the anti-Alito forces roll over and play dead, the pro-Alito forces will not have the sixty votes needed for "cloture," and the debate will begin in the full Senate.
This is the way it should go, for the benefit of the Country.
We (the People) do not need to hear more testimony from Judge Alito. He has apparently already told us everything he is willing to tell. He doesn't even need to be in the room. And we certainly don't need his relatives to be there, lovely as they may be.
What we do need is a clear-headed opportunity to sit back and consider the direction in which we want our Country to move. The Senate needs to take its time, in solemn consideration of all the relevant facts, and of the implications of those facts.
Do we want to move in the direction of the "Unitary Executive Theory," which Adolph Hitler called "Fuehrerprinzip," or "Leadership Principle?" This is the direction that President Bush has been trying to move us in - the direction toward vastly expanded Presidential power, where Congress is merely an advisor, not a true lawmaker, and where the Leader basically has ultimate authority over everything the Government does. Samuel Alito has a background of solid support for this dangerous and radical doctrine, along with solid personal support for George W. Bush. We could very well be moving quickly into a Dictatorship, with George W. Bush as our Dictator.
For more about the Unitary Executive Theory, see http://www.unitaryexecutive.net
Or do we want to move in another direction, a better direction, bringing us ever-closer to the true Principles our Founders wrote into the Constitution, where we truly have Government of the People, by the People, and for the People, now and forever?
The Senate needs to decide.
We (the anti-Alito forces) are not seeking a filibuster at all; just full debate. We are confident that we will win if the truth comes out. We will change enough minds, pick up enough votes to win. But this will require full and open debate.