This Associated Press article speculates on the possible impact that 2008 Presidential aspirations may have on certain Senators’ votes when Judge Roberts nomination comes up for vote both in the Judiciary Committee as well as the full Senate (hat tip: Rich Galen). While the article is somewhat interesting it misses what I believe is the bigger story: the 2006 Congressional Elections.

Democrats will be under tremendous pressure from constiuent special interest groups to vote against Judge Roberts. However, Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Kent Conrad (D-ND) are all in situations where they may need to vote to confirm Roberts in order to appease a growing conservative electorate in their states and ensure their re-election.

Meanwhile, Republicans Lincoln Chaffee (RI) and Olympia Snowe (ME) have both angered conservatives with their centrist voting patterns. Chaffee in particular may face a primary challenge from a more conservative Republican and may feel he needs to vote for Roberts in order to appease conservatives. Ohio’s Mike DeWine, who was one of the Gang of 14 who forged the deal that temporary halted judicial filibusters may also face a conservative challenger next spring and may vote to confirm Roberts to appease conservatives.

I have my doubts that Presidential aspirations will matter much in this confirmation vote. The only question remaining is how much Democrats will fight Judge Roberts’ confirmation which appears to be more inevitable with each passing day.