Judge Brett Kavanaugh has the 50 votes necessary to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced her support for him just minutes ago in an impassioned Senate speech.
“We’ve heard a lot of charges and counter-charges about Judge Kavanaugh, but as those who have known him best have attested, he has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband, and father,” Collins said. “Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored.”
If the final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination ends in a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence will cast the deciding vote in Kavanaugh’s favor. That vote is due by midday tomorrow.
Kavanaugh could also get more than 50 votes. The vote to commence debate on his nomination this morning garnered 51 votes — lacking the Republican vote of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski but gaining the Democratic vote of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Manchin also just announced he will support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, after polls showed majorities of West Virginians want Kavanaugh confirmed. Manchin is in a dead heat race for his re-election bid come November.
I will vote to support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. pic.twitter.com/1FfuMTOZz8
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 5, 2018
As Manchin stated his support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, protesters shouted “shame” at him this afternoon.
Sen. Manchin deserves every ‘Shame!’pic.twitter.com/L7O4IxsYYy
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) October 5, 2018
“We have come to the conclusion of the confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion,” Collins said today when announcing her vote.
Collins was under constant questioning from reporters about her support for Kavanaugh, since she has repeatedly blocked Republican priorities since Republicans took majorities of all elected branches of federal government in 2016 for the first time in decades. In her speech, Collins also slammed the Democrat staffer who leaked the uncorroborated accusations against Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford, against her stated wishes, that unleashed an eleventh-hour gauntlet of fire against President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.
“What you did was unconscionable,” Collins told Democrats. “You have taken a survivor who was not only entitled to your respect but who also trusted you to protect her, and you have sacrificed her wellbeing in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you’re fighting. My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate and all Americans to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court nominees.”