Collins, Manchin Vote “Yes”, Ensuring Kavanaugh Confirmation
After months of debate, last minute allegations of sexual assault, an FBI investigation and dozens of hours of tense testimony, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh now has the 50 votes required to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, after both GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced that they would be voting yes. GOP holdout Jeff Flake of Arizona also said that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh “unless something big changed.”
Earlier in the day, the Senate completed a cloture vote to advance Kavanaugh to final confirmation, which Manchin broke ranks and voted in favor of.
Most senators sat at their desk as the dramatic roll call unfolded, with major suspense over where Murkowski, Manchin and Flake would land. Collins was the first swing vote to support Kavanaugh on the procedural roll call, quickly followed by Flake. Murkowski then inaudibly voted no, a jarring defection that left Republicans with no room for error.
After it was clear that Kavanaugh had the 50 votes needed to advance, Manchin became Kavanaugh’s only Democratic supporter. Manchin, who left the chamber when the clerk called his name, came back into the chamber and voted in favor of Kavanaugh. His phone could be seen ringing and Manchin stared at it as the vote continued. –Politico
“This is a difficult decision for everybody,” Flake said to reporters, who added that he thinks Kavanaugh will be confirmed on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) is set to fly to Montana to attend his daughter’s Saturday wedding. If the vote is too close without Daines, he will be forced to fly back to Washington D.C. to cast the deciding vote.
“We’ll wait and see how this all unfolds,” Daines said. “We have transportation arranged and we’ll wait and see what happens.” He added that Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) offered him the use of his private plane.
President Trump has taken a largely hands-off approach to Kavanaugh’s confirmation – instead communicating in private with his political allies, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), according to Politico, which adds that the White House is “cautiously opimistic” that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
According to PredictIt, however, Kavanaugh’s odds of confirmation now stand at 96%:
Update 4: Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks, announcing his support for Judge Kavanaugh shortly after Collins’ announcement.
“Based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him,” Manchin wrote in a statement.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) have announced their support for a senate confirmation vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh nomination goes to final vote in Senate
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) crossed party lines by siding with Democrats while West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin gave Kavanaugh his blessing.
All eyes were initially on Sen. Susan Collins ahead of Saturday’s vote, though the Republican has since stated that she plans on voting in favor of Judge Kavanaugh. Soon afterwards, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) did the same.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said on Friday that he plans on voting ‘yes’ on Saturday “unless something big changes.”
Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) no’ on Friday likely signals a ‘no’ on Saturday.
Collins: will announce decision in 3 PM speech today
Manchin: says he won’t say till the final vote itself
Flake: ??? (but last week he was yes)
Murkowski: No on cloture likely signals no on confirmation
Kavanaugh needs two of these four.
Friday’s vote was called by Republican leadership on Thursday, after senators from both sides of the aisle reviewed the FBI’s background investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. The background check found no corroborating evidence to Ford’s claims, but Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (California) complained that the probe was not thorough enough.
Kavanaugh called the allegations “an orchestrated political hit,” and Republican Senators slammed Democrats for using the allegations to stall and delay the confirmation process.
Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) praised Kavananugh as “stunningly qualified” and said that a ‘yes’ vote would “reaffirm that in the United States of America, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”
“The resistance that has existed since the day after the November 2016 election is centered right here on Capitol Hill,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Friday. “I hope we can say no to mob rule by voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Grassley added.
Democrats maintained that Kavanaugh is an unsuitable candidate. “His views are deeply at odds with the progress America has made over the last century of jurisprudence,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said.
The Democrats’ anti-Kavanaugh efforts seem to have united and galvanized Republican voters ahead of November’s midterm elections. According to an NPR poll published Wednesday, 80 percent of Republicans now consider the midterms “very important,” up from 68 percent in July. 82 percent of Democrats say the same thing, slightly up from 78 percent in July.