The only suspense about today's Senate vote on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor was how many Republicans might join the Democratic majority in supporting her. In the final 68-31 vote, nine Republicans did so — not including Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback. Some acknowledged her unprecedented 17 years of experience as a federal judge, that her decisions have been within the legal mainstream, and that the power to pick justices comes with winning a presidential election. In replacing retiring Justice David Souter, Sotomayor brings needed ethnic and gender diversity to the bench. Seeing her confirmed already puts Obama ahead of President Carter, whose presidency didn't see a high court opening. If Obama has additional seats to fill, the ideological fight is sure to be even more fierce.