Minutes after Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) indicated that she will vote yes to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow, a crowdfunding effort raising funds to unseat her in 2020 crashed.
Even as Kavanaugh took his oath of office Saturday evening in a quiet private ceremony, not long after the narrowest Senate confirmation in almost a century and a half, protesters chanted outside the court building across the street from the Capitol. With Republicans controlling the chamber 51-49, one Republican voted to stop the nomination, one Democrat to send it further.
Collins' dramatic decision, laid out in a almost 45-minute speech on the Senate floor Friday, pushed Republicans over the edge and became a turning point for Kavanaugh. Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted not to move the nomination ahead. She told reporters on Friday that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but maybe "not the right man for the court at this time". That left unclear whether Friday's tally signalled that the 53-year-old federal appellate judge was on his way to the nation's highest court, though it would be unusual for lawmakers to switch their votes on such a high-profile issue.
Police rounded the protesters up in a Senate office building after they sat down and refused to budge. But Senate Democrats are defending multiple seats in states Trump easily carried, making the Kavanaugh vote a potential liability. You do not get to say you believe her, but not that part.
Susan Rice, who was President Barack Obama's national security adviser, caused a stir Friday afternoon when she tweeted "Me" when another former Obama official asked who could challenge Sen. If there is a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence would break it in favor of Kavanaugh.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly battled Trump and will retire in January, said he'd vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation "unless something big changes".
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Christine Blasey Ford testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on September 27, 2018.
Nadler said it would probably be hard to interview Kavanaugh if he was sitting on the Supreme Court.
In Minnesota this week, Trump launched his latest rhetorical attack on the political storm surrounding Kavanaugh's confirmation by saying Democrats were "trying to destroy" the Court of Appeals judge and predicting they would pay a price in the November elections. But on the other hand, Murkowski's bombshell gives Collins some cover should she vote "no".
On the other side, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the fight "a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia's seat".
The FBI investigated the allegations this week by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Judge Kavanaugh groped her and attempted to rape her when he was drunk at a high school party.
Martin Heinrich opposes Kavanaugh's confirmation based on the nominee's judicial views and accusations of teenage sexual misconduct that the first-term senator calls credible. Lost amid the massive political fight occasioned by the allegations by Ford and Ramirez is the fact that Kavanaugh is without question more conservative than the man he is replacing - Anthony Kennedy.