Sen. Susan Collins Clears the Way for Brett Kavanaugh's Supr
In a widely anticipated decision, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Friday that she would vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Her decision means that Kavanaugh, who faces multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, is all but assured to be confirmed to the Supreme Court when the Senate votes this weekend.
ldquoI will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,rdquo Collins said at the end of a 45-minute speech laying out her argument for supporting the judge. During the speech, she spoke in detail about Kavanaugh#8217s record and explained that she believed he was a qualified justice.
When Collins got to the recent allegations against Kavanaugh, she said that she believed some more than others. While she did not believe allegations that Kavanaugh had been at parties where girls were gang raped, she said she took more seriously the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school. Collins said she believes that Ford is a survivor of assault, but that there was not enough evidence to convince the Senator that Kavanaugh was involved. A #8220presumption of innocence and fairness#8221 had to prevail, she said.
ldquoI do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court,rdquo Collins said.
Immediately after Collins completed her speech, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the lone holdout in the chamber, announced that he would break with his Democratic colleagues and also vote for Kavanaugh. ldquoI have reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh and the temperament he displayed in the hearing. And my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life. However, based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him,rdquo Manchin said in a written statement.
Collins#8217 speech came after Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, another key Republican swing vote, said earlier Friday he would also vote for Kavanaugh barring any major unforeseen events. With Flake, Collins and Manchin on board, Kavanaugh will very likely have 51 votes in favor and will not need Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote.
Protesters opposing and in favor of Kavanaugh lined up both alongside and inside Collins office in the hours preceding her announcement. Demonstrators wore pins that read ldquoI said believe Christine Blasey Fordrdquo and held signs that said ldquoWe will not be silentrdquo while others wore shirts emblazoned with #8220Confirm Kavanaugh.#8221 Some had ldquovote nordquo written on their arms. Inside her office, demonstrators were telling their own stories and writing notes to the Senator describing their own experiences.