Bucking party, Murkowski charts her own path on Kavanaugh

06 October, 2018, 14:46 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Patrick Leahy

With a final vote scheduled for Saturday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is on track to have the closest confirmation vote in more than 130 years.

Susan Collins of ME said Friday she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, all but ensuring that a deeply riven Senate will elevate the conservative jurist to the nation's highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago. A final showdown vote was expected Saturday.

They sat near the aisle separating senators from both parties - an nearly symbolic placement that reflected how the two moderate Republicans were considering crossing the aisle to join with Democratic colleagues to oppose Kavanaugh.

Of the four lawmakers who had not revealed their decisions until Friday _ all moderates _ Republican Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia; and Republican senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Susan Collins of Maine.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the GOP leadership, said he would be "very surprised" if Murkowski switches her vote. Well, given that a vote for cloture ≠ a vote for confirmation, we should all be wary of drawing too many conclusions.

"This is all going to work out", Daines told reporters Friday morning at the Capitol. It assured a victory for President Donald Trump's quest to move the Supreme Court rightward, perhaps for decades, and a satisfying win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the GOP's conservative base.

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One Republican, Lisa Murkowski, voted "no" to end the debate, and has signaled that she'll also vote "no" on the nomination itself.

In the Capitol, however, both senators won praise from their colleagues. Several other potential witnesses named by Ford said they didn't recall the gathering she described.

His nomination advanced Friday afternoon by a razor-thin margin, 51-49, after the previously undecided Sens.

If they split, Mr. Daines' yes vote will be needed to even out the scales, and Vice President Mike Pence can cast a tie-breaking vote.

Kavanaugh is Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, following Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump selected after Republicans blocked a vote on President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016.

Lawyers for both women said the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn't interview people who could have corroborated their accounts.

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The vote occurred against a backdrop of smoldering resentment by partisans on both sides. "There is no evidence in the report that Kavanaugh did this, and in fact there is strong evidence he did not".

Kavanaugh's fate remained unclear early Friday, as a handful of key senators who hold the keys to his success had yet to say if they were prepared to support the judge.

"New information of a material nature regarding temperament during the September 27 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee has prompted a reopening of the Standing Committee's evaluation", reads the letter, Bloomberg reports.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the fight "a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia's seat". Democrats will assume Democrats are telling the truth; Republicans will assume the same of other Republicans.

When Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, Democrats leapt to oppose him, saying that past statements and opinions showed he'd be a threat to the Roe v. Wade case that assured the right to abortion.

The uncertainty lingered one day after the FBI completed an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, the results of which fell firmly along party lines.

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While Collins acknowledged that Blasey Ford's testimony was honest, painful and compelling, and that the accuser is a sexual assault survivor, she added that "I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court".

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