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Senate barely advances to final Kavanaugh vote

Senate barely advances to final Kavanaugh vote

Collins announced on the Senate floor this afternoon that she would vote in favor of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, prompting angry Democrats to float names of candidates who might face the fourth-term incumbent.

She added that with Supreme Court appointments lasting a lifetime, "Those who seek these seats must meet the highest standards in all respects, at all times".

It's all expected to conclude Saturday afternoon with a final roll call nearly solidly along party lines.

Immediately after Collins' speech, Manchin of West Virginia issued a statement declaring his support.

After his scheduled hearing last month, Judge Kavanaugh was embroiled in a major controversy when a professor from California, Christine Blasey Ford, alleged that she was assaulted by him when they were both teenagers in 1982. Two other women stepped forward in the days that followed with their own allegations of sexual misconduct.

Judge Kavanaugh denied the claim - and allegations that he drank to the point of memory loss at the time - in a feisty confrontation with senators.

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A key procedural vote Friday morning passes with a simple majority and that starts the clock for a final confirmation vote on judge Brett Kavanaugh to happen by Saturday afternoon, October 6 at around 5 p.m.

She went on to say, "I have been wrestling with whether or not this was about the qualifications of a good man or is this bigger than the nominee".

With Republicans controlling the chamber by a narrow 51-49, Collins' "yes" vote essentially assured a minimum of 50 votes for Kavanaugh. "I'm glad that Dr. Ford was heard; I'm glad that Judge Kavanaugh was heard". That would mark an anti-climactic finale to a clash fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and Trump's unyielding support of the nominee, opposing forces that left Kavanaugh's fate in doubt for weeks.

The Alaska senator expressed dismay at the acrimony in Kavanaugh's confirmation process and said on the Senate floor, "I am really anxious that this becomes the new normal, where we find new and even more creative ways to tear one another down, that good people are just going to say forget".

The US Senate has narrowly advanced President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to a final vote.

Senator Manchin, the only Democrat to support Kavanaugh, made the announcement soon on the Senate floor.

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"My fervent hope is that Brett Kavanagh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored", Collins said.

Another wrinkle for Saturday's vote: Republican Senator Steve Daines was to fly home Friday to Montana for his daughter's wedding, raising the prospect of Republicans losing a potentially vital yes vote. "What she was trying to do was what she thought was the right thing to do as a citizen, which is to provide the information to the U.S. Senate so they could make the most informed decision possible".

In a twist, Murkowski said she would state her opposition but vote "present" as a courtesy to Kavanaugh supporter Sen.

Comedian Amy Schumer and model-actress Emily Ratajkowski were among the more than 300 people arrested at various protests on Capitol Hill on Thursday while senators reviewed the FBI report on the investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seems destined to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side.

If confirmed, he would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement early this year.

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