THE SENATE’S HISTORY WITH SOTOMAYOR…. This morning at the White House, when President Obama introduced Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee, he noted that he’d like to see the Senate act swiftly on her nomination — as they have “twice before.”

It was a reminder that when Sotomayor sits before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her nomination heads to the Senate floor, it won’t be the first time these lawmakers have consider her qualifications for the federal bench.

In 1998, the Senate confirmed Sotomayor for the court of appeals, 67 to 29. Every Democrat voted in support — yes, that means you too, Ben Nelson — and as Eric Kleefeld noted this morning, seven Republican senators who are still in the chamber also voted for Sotomayor’s conformation.

Robert Bennett (R-Utah)
Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

Arlen Specter also voted for Sotomayor, but has since switched parties.

This isn’t to say some of these senators won’t balk at the prospect of elevating Sotomayor to the high court — consistency is often in short supply with this gang — but realistically, it seems unlikely all of them will oppose and deny Sotomayor an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.