Washington senators voice opposition to Kavanaugh confirmation on Senate floor

Lamar Ellis
October 8, 2018

Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, said that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh weren't strong enough to persuade her to vote no. "The allegations fail to meet the "more likely than not" standard", she said.

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

West Virginia's Joe Manchin is also planning to vote yes on Kavanaugh-the only Democrat to do so.

Trump also said women, far from being outraged at Kavanaugh, "were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh, outraged". Kavanagh has denied the abuse accusations.

Police on Saturday began arresting protesters who had gathered just feet (meters) from the entrance to the United States Capitol building, despite a barricade blocking off the area, as legislators inside prepared to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

One of Blasey's lawyers said that her client only wanted to tell her story and did not support impeachment.

Among those closely watched is Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent Trump critic who is not running for re-election and has expressed concern about Kavanaugh.

On Thursday, about 300 protesters, including sexual assault victims, were arrested after staging demonstrations on Capitol Hill opposing Kavanaugh, chanting "Believe survivors".

Trump's reference to Soros, who has supported pro-democracy movements around the world and the US Democratic Party for years, appeared to aim at inciting more support and anger from the president's conservative Christian base. The procedural vote started a 30-hour window of debate on the Senate floor.

A day earlier, Collins had told fellow senators that Christine Blasey Ford's dramatic testimony last month describing Kavanaugh's alleged 1982 assault was "sincere, painful and compelling".

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Other Republicans have echoed Trump's frustration. "The other side did it", he told reporters after Kavanaugh's confirmation. Kavanaugh has faced a series of sexual misconduct allegations that, according to the accusers, occurred decades ago.

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Kavanaugh's opponents raised concerns that he'd push the court further right, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump. Vice President Mike Pence planned to be available Saturday in case his tie-breaking vote was needed, which now seems unlikely.

After opposing a key procedural vote Friday morning on the nomination, Murkowski explained her vote to reporters, calling it "the most hard evaluation" she has had to make.

Similarly, Republicans said the Federal Bureau of Investigation found nobody to support assault claims by Deborah Ramirez, who was a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale University in the 1980s.

But he said he believes Kavanaugh will "determine cases based on the legal findings before him".

Seven UK law professors signed a letter saying the Senate should not confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Complicating matters, the office of Republican Steve Daines said he was planning to attend his daughter's wedding in Montana on Saturday.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the U.S. Senate, and with the two key senators choosing to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, the confirmation looked locked-in late on Friday.

Christine Blasey Ford testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on September 27, 2018.

Two key Republican senators said they were satisfied with the FBI's background investigation report on October 4, and said it didn't corroborate the claims of the women accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct.

Kavanaugh would replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was a swing vote on issues including abortion, campaign finance and same-sex marriage.

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