Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said on Friday that he plans to vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This came after the Senate passed a procedural vote in the morning that put the embattled nominee one step closer to his new job on the high court. The Senate voted 51 to 49 on Friday to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination after the Republican leadership were able to convince two Republicans and one Democrat. A final vote to confirm Kavanaugh may come on Saturday.
Once the highly anticipated FBI report on its investigation of alleged sexual misconduct on Kavanaugh’s part was complete, the votes began to fall into place. Sen. Flake was joined by fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to vote for Kavanaugh on Friday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who had also been considered a fence-sitter, broke with Republicans and voted against advancing the nomination. She told reporters, “I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man,” and added, “I believe he is a good man. It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”
Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, whose state went for Donald Trump in 2016, was the sole member of his caucus to vote in support of Kavanaugh. He is currently running for reelection, and is expected to easily defeat his GOP challenger.
Collins is still, however, holding her cards to her chest about voting to confirm Kavanaugh. She told reporters that she will decide later on Friday to announce how she will vote. As for Flake, he said he will vote to confirm unless there are big changes afoot.
Sen. Manchin stated that he will air his reasons for advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination later on Friday.
After Friday’s vote, Trump wrote on Twitter: “Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting ‘YES’ to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!”
As for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Kavanaugh’s nomination “one of he saddest, most sordid chapters in the long history of the federal judiciary.”