Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh clears crucial Senate hurdle

06 October, 2018, 10:30 | Author: Myra Gill
  • I might have been too emotional at hearing, says Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the US Supreme Court appeared all but assured Friday after two key lawmakers signaled their support, in a major boost for President Donald Trump.

The final Senate vote is expected Saturday afternoon.

Senator Joe Manchin, the only remaining undecided Democrat, said he would finish reading the report on Friday morning.

But when all the votes were cast, ultimately Murkowski voted no and Collins voted yes.

Murkowski did not directly link her decision on Kavanaugh's confirmation to the rate of sexual assault in Alaska, though she has spoken out about the issue previously and has introduced legislation to help victims of sexual assault.

North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who faces a hard re-election race next month, cited concerns about his "past conduct" and said she felt his heated attacks on Democrats during last week's Judiciary Committee hearing raised questions about his "current temperament, honesty and impartiality".

Outside, protesters shouted "shame on you" as Manchin spoke to reporters about his decision. Manchin deployed the now-familiar line: "I believe Dr. Ford", he said.

"I think what Susan did today was rise to the occasion when the stakes were so high", said Sen.

Manchin says he has reservations because of the sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh and the judge's temperament in denying them.

Senator Manchin, who is up for re-election in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide, told the senate moments later he "found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him". More than 300 were arrested on Thursday.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who's repeatedly battled Trump and will retire in January, said he'd vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation "unless something big changes".

But the drama wasn't over until Collins delivered a 45-minute speech explaining her reasons for supporting the president's nominee - primarily the importance of the American ideal that a person is innocent until proven guilty. McConnell then warned that he would up the ante and blow up the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, and when he got in power, he did just that a year ago during the confirmation process for Neil Gorsuch.

In theory, Kavanaugh could be confirmed, sworn in and sitting on the mahogany bench in the traditional black justice's robe by Tuesday, when the court is next in session.

Investigators did not interview Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford, the research psychiatrist who alleged he attempted to rape her when the two were teenagers in the early 1980s.

The Kavanaugh fight has riveted Americans just weeks before November 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of the U.S. Congress from the Republicans.

"That should concern us all", said California Democrat Diane Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

In a speech leading up to the vote, Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) voted to advance the nomination to the Supreme Court.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, meaning that if all Senate Democrats oppose Mr Kavanaugh, Mr Trump can not afford to lose more than one Republican vote for his nominee, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tiebreaking vote.

"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.



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