Key Senator in Kavanaugh confirmation a "yes" on procedural vote

06 October, 2018, 01:42 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Jeff Flake and Susan Collins

Democrat Joe Manchin voted for cloture, which meant that Vice President Pence did not have to be brought in to break a tie.

Lisa Murkowski, on Friday for announcing her intent to vote "no" on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Under rules approved a year ago, 50 votes are needed for a majority in the procedural vote, which will be followed by a debate on the nomination before a final, definitive confirmation vote.

Manchin's "yes" vote seemed likely after he voted Friday morning to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to a final vote.

As the vote neared, the judge defended his neutrality in a Wall Street Journal editorial titled, "I am an independent, impartial judge".

Given that Republicans have a razor-thin margin of control in the Senate, the party can potentially only afford another defection if it wants to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court - assuming the two swing senators vote the same in the next 24 hours. But numerous Republicans emerged to tell reporters they saw nothing implicating Kavanaugh in sexual misconduct.

While her "no" vote on the motion to end debate suggested Murkowski is inclined to oppose Kavanaugh, the senator sounded as if she was still anguished and uncertain. The letter states that, during last week's hearings, Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament, which disqualifies him from any court, especially the Supreme Court.

The vote marks a key step for Kavanaugh whose confirmation has been mired in sexual assault allegations from at least three women, most notably from Christine Blasey Ford who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, detailing Kavanaugh's alleged high school sexual assault in the 1980s in which she said she feared for her life.

Afterwards, Donald Trump ordered an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. "This has truly been the most hard evaluation of a decision that I've ever had to make and I've (sic) made some interesting ones in my political career".

"Countless North Dakotans and others close to me have since reached out and told me their stories of being raped or sexually assaulted - and expressed the same anguish and fear".

"If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she's had to say, I'm not comfortable voting yes", Flake said at the time, according to Politico.

Injecting even more uncertainty into the process is the fact that Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana will not be in town on Saturday.

Republicans can only lose a single GOP vote if all Democrats vote against the nomination.

Senators can change their mind after today's role call vote, although those who vote no at this stage are historically unlikely to change their minds when it comes to the final ballot. He is heading to NY for a congressional fundraiser Friday but planned to be back in Washington for the final vote.

The final vote, it seems, will come down to Susan Collins (R-ME) and Manchin. If they don't, it will be delayed. "At the same time, enough has been learned about his partisan instincts that we believe senators must vote 'no'".

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, said while her party had agreed to a week-long Federal Bureau of Investigation probe with a finite scope, "We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI's hands".



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