George W. Bush made several calls reassuring Collins about Kavanaugh

In a procedural vote Friday that handed Republicans a vital initial victory, senators voted 51-49 to limit debate, defeating Democratic efforts to scuttle the nomination with endless delays. However, she said while she would vote "no" on Saturday, she would ask that her vote be registered as "present" so as not to jeopardize the majority - and allow a fellow Republican to attend his daughter's wedding instead of returning to Washington to vote.

His confirmation provides a defining accomplishment for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which found a unifying force in the cause of putting a new conservative majority on the court. But she said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ford had provided.

In her speech, Murkowski said she was initially leaning toward supporting Kavanaugh but that the ultimate reason for her vote against the nomination was her concern that Kavanaugh did not possess the temperament to properly represent the Supreme Court.

Manchin was the only Democrat to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation.

"I would say if we're talking about the Supreme Court and Judge Kavanaugh, I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court. What she did was to come forward and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and agree to cooperate with any investigation by the FBI and that's what she sought to do here", Katz said. "It's just not worth it". Trump also spoke with Vice President Pence, Sen. "We've sort of been under assault, and everybody made a decision to stand up to the mob and not be intimated by these people", he said. That balanced out the absence without affecting the outcome, and gave Kavanaugh the same two-vote margin he'd have received had both lawmakers voted. Exactly one month from elections in which House and Senate control are in play, Democrats tried making sure that female voters were paying attention.

Even before the lurid sexual assault charges surfaced, Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate were fighting hard to stop Kavanaugh, saying his conservative judicial philosophy could result in rolling back abortion rights, gay rights and protections for immigrants.

Kavanaugh's confirmation leaves the Senate traumatized with Republicans and Democrats as estranged as at any time in recent memory, reflecting the cavernous divides in the country itself during a presidency that has ignited rare political passions.

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Demonstrators block the main entrance door as they take the steps of the US Supreme Court protesting the appointment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC, on October 6, 2018. Then she took her seat, looking down with a stone-faced expression.

Murkowski said she was displeased with the nomination process and felt that disrespect to Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, had gotten out of hand.

"There were many, many false things that were said about a very, very fine man and would have destroyed his family if this didn't happen", Trump said, referring to the confirmation.

Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, were key undecided senators who were closely watched for how they would vote.

The final Senate vote is expected Saturday, but enough senators have committed to backing him after a tumultuous political battle inflamed by allegations by California professor Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the early 1980s.

When Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, Democrats leapt to oppose him, saying that past statements and opinions showed he'd be a threat to the Roe v. Wade case that assured the right to abortion.

Ford's attorney Debra Katz tells CNN's Dana Bash in an interview that Ford only wanted to tell her story to Senate Judiciary Committee members. Kavanaugh's nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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