07 October, 2018
The Republican senator from ME, one of four undecided senators who held Kavanaugh's fate in their hands, said she will support his confirmation on Saturday, all but ensuring that a deeply riven Senate will elevate the conservative jurist to the nation's highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago.
"I believe he's a good man".
Republicans control the Senate by a meager 51-49.
The uncertainty lingered one day after the FBI completed an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, the results of which fell firmly along party lines.
As Collins stepped onto the Senate floor to make her speech, protesters in the Senate gallery chanted loudly, "Vote No!"
The vote to confirm Kavanaugh, when it comes, will reconcile a cause that has unified and electrified the conservative movement dating to its rebirth as a modern political force led by former President Ronald Reagan. "It just may be that in my view he's not the right man for the court at this time", Murkowski told reporters.
Republicans have said that a week-long investigation, summed up in the FBI dossier, had turned up nothing to corroborate the sexual assault allegations against the 53-year-old Kavanaugh, who now sits on a federal court in Washington.
More than 2,400 law professors from across the country also signed a letter urging the Senate not to confirm Kavanaugh, citing his "aggressive" demeanor in the hearing.
But after the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its report late Wednesday, after less than a week of investigating, Flake said it had found "no additional corroborating information" against Kavanaugh.
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Rice was embroiled in the scandal around the accusation from President Donald Trump that the Obama administration had "wire tapped" him during the 2016 election campaign. Democrat Joe Manchin voted for cloture, which meant that Vice President Pence did not have to be brought in to break a tie.
Friday started as spellbinding drama as the quartet - Collins and fellow Republicans Jeff Flake, of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Democrat Joe Manchin, of West Virginia - gradually began revealing how they would vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.
"Millions of Americans, millions of women are watching us today", said New York Sen.
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 4, 2018.
In the tense moments before the morning vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for whom a conservative Supreme Court majority would represent a career defining achievement, accused Democrats of trying to derail Kavanaugh's nomination with delaying tactics and obstruction - even though he is a possibly Washington's most accomplished master of the dark arts.
Well, the White House fought for this nomination, and won. If confirmed, Kavanaugh could tip the court's balance toward conservatives for a generation. As I've said previously, my job is to assess the facts before us and the fact remains that no evidence exists to support the allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh. But he said he will because he considers Kavanaugh a "qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution".
Murkowski added in her speech, however, that she plans to ultimately vote "present" in the final vote as a gesture of goodwill toward her Republican colleague, Sen.
Kavanaugh would replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was a swing vote on issues such as abortion, campaign finance and same-sex marriage.
"This has truly been the most hard ... decision that I've ever had to make", she said.