Buried in a Washington Post preview of today's confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor is this nugget:
One surprise may come late in the day, when, according to sources, several Republican senators could announce their support for Sotomayor's nomination, effectively sealing her appointment to the court and making the only question how many votes she will receive.

Among those who some court watchers say could make an early announcement are Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, the only Latino Republican in the chamber, and Sens. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals MORE and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine.

If true, this would give Sotomayor a big momentum boost going into tomorrow's hearing, when questioning will begin. (Today is just opening statements.)

If Martinez, the only Republican Latino in the Senate, comes out for Sotomayor early, it could make it much harder for Senate Republicans to oppose her without alienating Hispanic voters. In other words, his opposition would have provided a measure of cover for his white colleagues.