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Brett Kavanaugh: Key US senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Brett Kavanaugh: Key US senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Announcements by Republican Susan Collins of ME and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia that they'll support the conservative jurist made Saturday's confirmation vote a formality, an anticlimactic finale to a battle that riveted the nation for almost a month.

Republicans have a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Senator Collins ended hopes she would side with Democrats in the final vote, telling fellow senators she did not believe the "charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court".

The moderate ME senator expressed her outrage at organizations that forcefully opposed Kavanaugh before even copy-and-pasting his name into their material and Democrats who announced their intention to end Kavanaugh's nomination before hearing a word of testimony.

While the vote was a victory for the GOP, lawmakers can vote differently on the climactic confirmation roll call, and Collins told reporters she would announce later Friday how she would go.

A total of 164 people were arrested according to U.S. Capitol Police. The Senate vote delivered an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country's cultural, gender and political divides.

But she said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ms Ford had provided. "It will not change the outcome of the vote" Murkowski said on the Senate floor on Friday night.

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Vice-President Mike Pence planned to be available Saturday in case his tie-breaking vote was needed, which now seems unlikely.

U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) also said Friday he will likely vote for Kavanaugh, which means the judge could get as many as 51 votes.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. "I would say if we're talking about the Supreme Court and Judge Kavanaugh, I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court", Mrs. Trump said while speaking to reporters in Egypt during a solo global trip to Africa. But on the other hand, Murkowski's bombshell gives Collins some cover should she vote "no".

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday suggested the lack of women on the committee was due to its heavy workload, but later said the committee is a lot of work for male senators as well.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said, "The Senate has been an embarrassment". Numerous defiant protesters said they felt powerless but swore next month's midterms would change that. But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY forecast gains for his party instead: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box".

Murkowski especially expressed her distaste for the way Kavanaugh conducted himself in a hearing last Thursday as he defended himself against allegations from Christine Blasey Ford.

Manchin said he had reservations about Kavanaugh because of the sexual misconduct allegations against him "and the temperament he displayed in the hearing". "Fairness is most in jeopardy ... when passions are inflamed", she said on October 5, referring to allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. "I don't believe the facts show it was Brett Kavanaugh", said Manchin.


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    Joe Manchin, who is facing a strong challenge in the November midterms, has said he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh. But he said he will because he considers Kavanaugh a "qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution".
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