Senator Susan Collins backs Brett Kavanaugh, paving way for confirmation

Flake ends weeks of wavering, is expected to vote to confirm Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh: Key US senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Protesters gathered outside the Capitol to protest against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, even as his supporters in the Senate appeared to have locked up the votes for his confirmation Saturday.

He said Saturday he thinks Republicans "are going to do incredibly well" in the elections after Kavanaugh's confirmation.

It all but assured a victory for US President Donald Trump's quest to move the Supreme Court rightward, perhaps for decades, and a satisfying win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans' conservative base.

The outcome, telegraphed Friday when the final undeclared senators revealed their views, was devoid of the shocks that had come nearly daily since Christine Blasey Ford said last month that an inebriated Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a 1982 high school get-together. Kavanaugh staunchly denied the allegations, but almost all Senate Democrats voted against his confirmation.

The FBI submitted its investigation early this week, which was then sent to the Senate for the lawmakers to have a look at it and have an informed decision. She later said that it had been a very hard decision, but that she did not believe it was the "right time" for Kavanaugh to be seated on the court.

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Though Collins certainly understood the seriousness of Dr. Ford's claims and said she believed Ford's contention that something happened to her, the senator noted that the evidence does not support Kavanaugh's guilt.

Daines, a Montana Republican who has supported Kavanaugh's nomination, has been scheduled to attend his daughter's wedding on Saturday for months and made it clear he wouldn't be skipping the ceremony.

Murkowski was the only Republican to break with her party and voted with Democrats on the procedural question to advance Kavanaugh.

Collins' dramatic decision, laid out in a almost 45-minute speech on the Senate floor Friday, pushed Republicans over the edge and became a turning point for Kavanaugh. As moderates who support abortion rights, their joint opposition could have been enough to sink Kavanaugh, whose nomination was thrust into uncertainty following sexual assault allegations. Heitkamp, to whom FiveThirtyEight gives a 31.5 percent chance of winning her Senate race in November, came out strong against Kavanaugh's confirmation, no matter the political consequences.

"We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be", Collins said in remarks that stretched for more than 40 minutes but addressed the sexual-abuse allegations only near the end.

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Two other women also made accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh in the 1980s.

The Maine senator has been seen as a key swing vote in the confirmation of Kavanaugh. "I have been wrestling to-to really try to know what is fair and what is right and the truth is none of this has been fair", Murkowski said Friday, adding, "I believe we are dealing with issues that are bigger than a nominee". She did not say whether or not she believed if Kavanaugh considered Roe v. Wade one of those extreme circumstances. But he said that after factoring in the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, "I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution".

Demonstrators protest the appointment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC, on October 6, 2018.

When it was her turn, Murkowski stood up, paused, and whispered "no", her voice barely audible.

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