Protesters urge Senators to vote 'no' on Kavanaugh as decision looms

As expected, the vote went strictly along party lines, giving Kavanaugh a narrow 50-48 victory.

The final vote hinged on GOP senators Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, as well as Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), who also signaled that he would vote for the judge.

That should have meant a 51-49 tally, but the absence of Republican Steve Daines, a yes voter who was at his daughter's wedding, altered the final figures. In the end, there was indeed a two-vote margin, the closest nomination vote since 1881. Among them were three of the chamber's moderate Republicans, Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat up for re-election in conservative West Virginia.

Susan Collins of ME declared Friday she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, 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.

Hundreds of protesters against Kavanaugh had gathered on Saturday on the grounds of the Capitol and at the Supreme Court. They raised concerns about his judicial philosophy and how he would rule on abortion and health care issues.

Yet Kavanaugh's pathway to confirmation seemed unfettered until Ford accused him of drunkenly sexually assaulting her in a locked bedroom at a 1982 high school gathering.

While speaking on the Senate floor Friday, the Kentucky senator called out Democrats for their partisanship and for not giving Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt in the face of allegations against him.

As swing-vote senators processed the FBI's findings, Kavanaugh was forced to fend off another criticism of his nomination: his temperament. But she said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ford had provided.

The 53 year old will be sworn in later on Saturday at the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Republicans raged against the other women's accusations.

Jenna Lowenstein, a Democratic digital strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign, also said she had enlisted 75 political staffers to help elect Collins's future challenger. To Republicans ― especially Senator Lindsey Graham ― this was a straightforward "gang rape" accusation, one so obviously ridiculous that it became a rallying cry.

Trump congratulated the Senate on "confirming our GREAT NOMINEE". and says he will sign Kavanaugh's Commission of Appointment and swear him in later today. "Something might have happened to her, yes, and I pray it didn't".

In a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, Collins argued that while the eleventh-hour sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh were plausible, they did not meet the necessary standards of evidence to overcome Kavanaugh's right to the presumption of innocence. This is despite Ford testifying, under oath, that she is "100 percent" sure that Kavanaugh was her attacker.

The dramatic moments began as Vice President Mike Pence presided over the Senate chamber and began the official vote. "The Me Too movement is real, it matters, it is needed, and it is long overdue".

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