US Senate heads to final vote on court nominee Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland meets with Sen. Tim Kaine in his office in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill

On Friday, after the nomination cleared a key procedural hurdle with a 51-49 vote, two previously undecided senators, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced they would support Kavanaugh.

The Senate is likely to vote late Saturday.

Murkowski was the lone Republican to vote against advancing Kavanaugh's nomination during Friday's cloture vote.

"Certain fundamental principles about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness do bear on my thinking and I can not abandon them", Collins said while addressing the central matter of the last several weeks: Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982.

Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a fellow moderate and a friend of Collins, became the only Republican to say she opposed Kavanaugh. Truth be told, Collins isn't really a centrist: she has a very conservative voting record and voted to confirm Trump's 2017 Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

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On Thursday, about 300 protesters, including sexual assault victims, were arrested after staging demonstrations on Capitol Hill opposing Kavanaugh, chanting "Believe survivors". It's up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to determine when to hold the vote, according to Senate rules and whenever he thinks he has the votes.

But she said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ms Ford had provided.

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice raised her hand when President Obama's former communications director asked which Dem would be willing to challenge Sen. Vice President Mike Pence presided, his potential tie-breaking vote unnecessary.

Dianne Feinstein of California, that committee's top Democrat, said Kavanaugh's testimony at last week's dramatic Judiciary panel hearing should "worry us all", citing "a hostility and belligerence that is unbecoming" of a Supreme Court nominee.

Nadler said it would probably be hard to interview Kavanaugh if he was sitting on the Supreme Court.

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Voters will be casting ballots in Nov 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to seize control of Congress from Trump's party. There are facts that she can not remember: "how she got home, how she got there, where the house was, what the date was".

Three female GOP senators - Iowa's Jodi Ernst, West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito and Mississippi's Cindy Hyde-Smith - sat directly behind Collins as she spoke. "Fairness is most in jeopardy ... when passions are inflamed", she said on October 5, referring to allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.

"If young boys behave well and with respect, they have nothing to worry about", Grossi said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday suggested the lack of women on the committee was due to its heavy workload, but later said the committee is a lot of work for male senators as well. A large reason Republicans voted for President Donald Trump was to put conservatives on the court.

On the other side, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the fight "a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia's seat". Kavanaugh vehemently denied all those claims.

Collins said she had met with "thousands of my constituents", noting that both supporters and opponents of the judge had given her their opinions in the days since Ford came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Two other women later emerged with sexual misconduct allegations from the 1980s.

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