Senate Advances Kavanaugh Nomination to Final Vote

Patrick Leahy

A former Collins staffer said the Senator will absolutely vote on her own convictions on Kavanaugh, and will not be swayed by the protestors or the anger, one way or the other. Big day for America!

The vote occurred a day after the Senate received a roughly 50-page Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the sexual assault allegations, which Trump ordered only after wavering GOP senators forced him to do so. Trump tweeted under the hastag #Troublemakers, as the lobbying for and against the confirmation vote reached fever pitch on Friday.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the U.S. Senate, and with the two key senators choosing to vote in favour of Kavanaugh, the confirmation looked locked-in late on Friday.

The 53-year-old judge made what were in effect closing arguments by acknowledging that he became "very emotional" when forcefully denying the allegations at a judiciary committee hearing last week. "I don't believe the facts show that it was Brett Kavanaugh, but I believe something happened", Manchin said.

In the vote on Gorsuch a year ago, the cloture and final confirmation votes lined up perfectly (with the exception of one Republican senator who missed the final vote for health reasons).

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A final vote on the Republican nominee is planned for Saturday, with the result still in question as another Republican senator, Susan Collins, reserved her stance on final approval.

Other vulnerable Senate Democrats such as Sens.

"To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article 3 of our Constitution itself", Collins said, referencing Kavanaugh's stance on Roe v. Wade. "We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy".

Amid torrid scenes on the Hill, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia went against the party to vote with Republicans even after protestors confronted him in the hallways of the Senate to urge him to vote against Kavanaugh. Manchin, the only Democrat supporting the nominee, faces a competitive re-election race next month in a state Trump carried in 2016 by 42 percentage points.

Senators voted 51-49 to limit debate, defeating Democratic efforts to scuttle the nomination with endless delays.

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"This has truly been the most hard evaluation of a decision that I've ever had to make, and I've made some interesting ones in my political career", Murkowski said. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who is attending his daughter's wedding in Montana.

Bennett said he personally supports the Kavanaugh nomination and is concerned that how the confirmation process has degenerated into such a partisan fight.

Republicans can afford to lose one "yes" vote, leaving the tally deadlocked at 50-50, because Vice President Mike Pence would step in to break the tie in the GOP's favor.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee., said nine of the pages were about Mark Judge, the Kavanaugh friend who Ford said also jumped on her while Kavanaugh assaulted her. Judge has said he doesn't recall the incident.

Heitkamp said she was troubled by Kavanaugh's aggressive appearance before the Senate Judiciary committee and the message his confirmation would send to women and girls across the country. They said he also seemed ready to rule for Trump if federal authorities probing his 2016 campaign's alleged connections to Russian Federation try to pursue him in court. He was nominated by Trump to succeed retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was seen as a swing vote on the court.

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Kavanaugh's nomination was embroiled in a controversy that gripped the nation after multiple women made sexual assault allegations originating from his time in high school and college.

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