Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Senate near Kavanaugh approval after epic struggle

Senate near Kavanaugh approval after epic struggle

Joe Manchin on Friday after he announced he'll vote yes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, drowning him out as he tried to explain his decision.

Kavanaugh's nomination sparked protest across the Capitol, which continued Saturday.

He said Saturday he thinks Republicans "are going to do incredibly well" in the elections after Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, accused him of being evasive in his answers during his confirmation hearings on key topics.

Murkowski said she has a high bar for any nominee to the Supreme Court, referencing section 1.2 of the Judicial Code of Conduct, which states that "a judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety".

"Based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed Federal Bureau of Investigation 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", the West Virginia senator stated. With a 51-49 majority, Republicans can't afford more than one defection if all Democrats were to vote together.

That's one way we might feel a direct impact. Once Kavanaugh is seated, Chief Justice John Roberts, by no means a moderate, will become the swing vote on the Supreme Court.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and West Virginia Democratic Sen.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seems destined to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side.

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Collins, who had kept her vote close to her chest for the entirety of Kavanaugh's confirmation process, made the announcement in a lengthy speech from the Senate floor.

"Laura and I have known and respected Brett Kavanaugh for decades, and we stand by our comments the night Judge Kavanaugh was nominated", he said in September in a statement provided to CNN by his spokesperson, Freddy Ford. Similarly, Flake suggested he would vote "yes" for Kavanaugh "unless something big changes".

The Senate is poised on Saturday to confirm Kavanaugh as an associate justice.

"This nominee was interviewing for a job in front of the American people, and he was belligerent, evasive and aggressive", she said. Then she took her seat, looking down with a stone-faced expression.

Manchin is the only Democrat who's likely to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. "That takes some backbone, '" she said, quoting Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh's opponents raised concerns that he'd push the court further right, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump.

Murkowski said many of her colleagues had expressed shock at how prevalent the issue of sexual assault is across the country. Support from Collins and Manchin would give Kavanaugh the majority he needs. He seemed certain to win by a slender two votes in a near party-line roll call. Steve Daines of Montana, who supports Kavanaugh but was in Montana to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. He also blasted Democrats for their treatment of Kavanaugh, describing it as "nothing short of monstrous".

Senators on both sides know they have work to do to put the chamber back together again after a ferocious debate that saw them arguing over the sordid details of high school drinking games, sexual allegations and cryptic yearbook entries. Citing the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee and "the virtual mob that assaulted us in the course of this process", McConnell said "they've managed to deliver the only thing that we had not been able to figure out how to do, which was to get our folks fired up".

Trump has repeatedly sided with men accused of sexual misconduct and has warned of the dangers false accusations pose to men - even though research has shown false accusations to be extremely rare.

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