Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Friday announced that she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, effectively sealing the deal for Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In a speech on the Senate floor, Collins said that she believed that Christine Blasey Ford had been a victim of sexual assault but thought her allegations against Kavanaugh lacked sufficient evidence, including corroborating witnesses, to be credible enough to disqualify the nominee.
“The presumption of innocence and fairness do bear on my thinking, and I cannot abandon them,” Collins said.
The Maine senator also dismissed concerns that if confirmed, Kavanaugh would work to roll back the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights, and same-sex marriage. She railed against Democrats for preemptively opposing President Donald Trump’s nominee before a name was officially announced.
Earlier on Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination in a key procedural vote. “I believe Brett Kavanaugh’s a good man,” Murkowski told reporters shortly after casting her vote. “It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.” (Collins voted in favor of ending further debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination.) Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), widely seen as the third key swing vote, said that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh barring “something big” coming up before Saturday’s final vote.
This is a breaking news post. We will update as more information becomes available.