Senate near Kavanaugh approval after epic struggle

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Feinstein and Mc Connell have very different views on the FBI report

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Feinstein and Mc Connell have very different views on the FBI report

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) walks to the Senate floor for a cloture vote on the nomination of Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, at the U.S. Capitol, October 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.

"I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court", Collins said.

The outcome had remained in doubt, however, after one Republican, Lisa Murkowski, defied her party and voted against moving ahead.

The Kavanaugh fight has riveted Americans just weeks before November 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from the Republicans.

Brett Kavanaugh who is steps away from being confirmed as a US Supreme Court judge has been in the news lately for sexual harassment allegations that have surfaced against him in the past two weeks.

With the political world holding its breath, Collins spoke of a lack of "corroborating evidence" to back up Ford's claims that Kavanaugh was the man who assaulted her more than three decades ago.

Manchin used an emailed statement to announce his support for Kavanaugh moments after Collins finished talking. "Fairness is most in jeopardy ... when passions are inflamed", she said on October 5, referring to allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.

As Collins stepped onto the Senate floor to make her speech, protesters in the Senate gallery chanted loudly, "Vote No!"

A vote on confirmation could happen as early as Saturday.

Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation would tilt America's highest court in favour of conservatives.

A FBI report sent to the Senate on Thursday said that based on its one-week supplemental background investigation, there is no corroboration of sexual misconduct allegations made against Kavanaugh.

Daines told CNN GOP leaders "have literally not said how they will manage" his absence for the vote.

After Ford's testimony last week, Flake orchestrated a deal that delayed a vote on Kavanaugh to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation time to investigate her allegations and Kavanaugh's strident denials. "Democratic" Senator Joe Manchin voted in kind with Collins, but only after the Republican Senator had demonstrated a level of courage he refused to meet.

In a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, the 61-year-old Republican said that one of the roles she takes most seriously as a US senator is the task to "advise and consent" on Supreme Court nominations.

"Who wants to run for Senate in Maine?" As of Friday night, she appears to be the only Republican who will vote against the judge.

Well, the White House fought for this nomination, and won.

"I think we all have husbands and fathers and a lot of us have sons, and I think it is a troubling time for them", Murphy said. After a flurry of last-minute negotiations, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Brett Kavanaugh's nomination for the Supreme Court after agreeing to a late call from Sen.

Collins has never opposed a Supreme Court nominee, voting to confirm the past five justices from Republican and Democratic presidents. Immediately after that speech, Manchin announced his support, calling Kavanaugh a "qualified jurist" who "will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court".

Still, she sent signals that Kavanaugh had cleared a hurdle by reassuring her that he believed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights is settled law. Kavanaugh's nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.

Murkowski in contrast, defied her party and voted against advancing the nomination.

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