George W. Bush made several calls reassuring Collins about Kavanaugh

Senate heads to final vote on Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination

Murkowski: Kavanaugh not 'right person for the court at this time'

Friday's vote took place after yet another extraordinary twist in the Kavanaugh confirmation process, when the nominee penned a last minute Wall Street Journal op-ed that was seen as an effort to put to rest questions about his temperament.

Their support makes Saturday's vote to confirm Kavanaugh an apparent formality after a battle that riveted the nation for almost a month.

Both testified about the alleged incident at a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

It's all expected to conclude Saturday afternoon with a final roll call nearly solidly along party lines.

"I do hope that Judge Kavanaugh will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court", Manchin added in the statement. As the clerk read names in alphabetical order on a procedural vote to move the nomination forward, all eyes were on Murkowski.

Collins has never opposed a Supreme Court nominee, voting to confirm the past five justices from Republican and Democratic presidents.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations against him.

Republicans control the Senate by a meagre 51-49.

"I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation", he said to roars, thanking Republican senators for refusing to back down "in the face of the Democrats' shameless campaign of political and personal destruction".

In the tense moments before the morning vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for whom a conservative Supreme Court majority would represent a career defining achievement, accused Democrats of trying to derail Kavanaugh's nomination with delaying tactics and obstruction - even though he is a possibly Washington's most accomplished master of the dark arts.

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The vote on confirming Kavanaugh as an associate justice will begin at roughly 3:30 p.m., and senators have been advised to be in their seats by the time the historic roll call begins.

A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showed in fact that the Republicans have narrowed the enthusiasm gap with Democrats in the past few weeks. They said he'd push the court farther right, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump.

Speaking after the vote, McConnell said the protests against Kavanaugh over the past several weeks have "turned our base on fire".

"What I can speak to is when victims of sexual assault and violence go to their Congress people - when they go to their senators and they ask for their information to be confidential, I think that that's a request that needs to be respected", Katz said. Steve Daines of Montana, who supports Kavanaugh but was in Montana to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. That would let Kavanaugh win by the same two-vote margin he'd have received had both senators voted.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on the Senate floor before the vote, raised concerns that Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v Wade - the 1973 decision that found a constitutional right to abortion - and was extreme on gun rights.

Throughout the day, Trump also kept his focus on the opposition, saying Kavanaugh had withstood a "horrible, awful attack" that "nobody should have to go through".

Ford, the 51-year-old research psychologist and professor who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in the 1980s, believes she "did the right thing" in coming foward, according to her attorneys.

This mutual friend was identified to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Deborah Ramirez as a witness to the sexual misconduct Kavanaugh allegedly committed against her at a college party in which he shoved his genitals in her face.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said, "The Senate has been an embarrassment".

"The process that led to this vote today has been, in my view, a frightful process, a gut-wrenching process, where good people have been needlessly hurt, where a woman who never sought the public spotlight was, I think, cruelly thrust into the brightest of spotlights", Murkowski said.

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