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 CollinsThis week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate Week ahead: Uncertainty surrounds ObamaCare repeal vote Senate healthcare bill appears headed for failure 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.