Sen. Susan Collins announced Friday that she will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, all but ensuring his appointment to the Supreme Court will be successful.
“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” the Maine Republican announced after a 45 minutes speech from the Senate floor on Friday afternoon.
“We’ve heard a lot of charges and counter-charges against Judge Kavanaugh,” she explained. “But as those who have known him best have attested, he has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband and father.”
Collins argued that the nominee deserves the presumption of innocence.
“When our passions are most inflamed, fairness is most in jeopardy,” she said, calling some of the allegations against Kavanaugh “outlandish,” the New York Post reported.
Collins said she found the testimony of Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week compelling and sincere, but also noted it was uncorroborated by others.
The senator reportedly spent hours reviewing the supplemental report concerning Ford’s allegations and others submitted by the FBI on Thursday.
As far as Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy, Collins said that she only required jurists to be within the mainstream, not share her views. She argued his many judicial opinions written during his past 12 years on the Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., reflected a judge who met that criteria.
“I have always opposed litmus tests for judicial nominees with respect to their personal views or politics,” Collins said. “I’ve never considered the president’s identity or party when evaluating Supreme Court nominations.”
The lawmaker noted that she voted for justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, nominated by then-President George W. Bush; and Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, chosen by then President Barack Obama, and finally, Neil Gorsuch, picked by President Donald Trump.
Many responded with threats and vitriol to the news Collins would be voting for Kavanaugh.
One tweeted, “Goodbye Collins. Goodbye Republican controlled (H)ouse and Senate. Collins may get Kavenaugh on SCOTUS. But we will investigate the hell out of it and get him impeached.”
Another wrote, “Senator Collins you’re a door mat and used women of this country as one too! you allowed the congress to wipe their feet all over women for 2 decades! The Lease is up!”
Gun control advocate David Hogg, tweeted, “Remember @SenatorCollins those affected by your choices will write the history books.”
Remember @SenatorCollins those affected by your choices will write the history books.
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) October 5, 2018
And Susan Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Barack Obama, hinted she may challenge Collins for her Senate seat, writing, “Maine and America deserve better.”
Many thanks for the encourgement. I’m not making any announcements. Like so many Americans, I am deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh. Maine and America deserve better. https://t.co/6oGFTFuO1Q
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) October 5, 2018
In addition to Collins, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake told reporters on Friday he is also a “yes” vote on Kavanaugh, barring “something big changes.”
Meanwhile, the final holdout GOP holdout, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, voted against cloture to end debate on the nomination on Friday, offering a strong signal that she will vote against Kavanaugh.
Alaska Native organizations, a key constituency of Murkowski, have been pressuring her to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination, Reuters reported.
They have cited concerns that he would not fully recognize their tribal rights and seek to overturn President Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act.
As of Friday, 50 Republicans senators have committed to voting for Kavanaugh, as well as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, meaning even if a senator changed his or her decision, Vice President Mike Pence could cast the tie-breaking vote sending Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
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