President Donald Trump tweeted his approval Friday morning after a 51-49 cloture vote in the Senate advanced the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting “YES” to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!” Trump wrote.
Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting “YES” to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2018
The procedural vote played out largely along political lines, with one dissenting vote on each side of the aisle.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, broke with his party to support a confirmation vote set for Saturday afternoon.
He faces a midterm election in West Virginia amid pressure from his constituents to support the nominee.
As of Friday afternoon, Manchin had not announced his decision regarding the final vote.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against cloture, indicating that she would also oppose Kavanaugh in the confirmation vote.
She told reporters on Friday that she did not make up her mind on the vote until entering the Senate chamber earlier in the day.
“I have been wrestling to really try to know what is fair and what is right and the truth is that none of this has been fair,” Murkowski said.
Despite the fact that she felt the process “hasn’t been fair to the judge,” she said confirming Kavanaugh would send the wrong message.
“I also recognize that we need to have institutions that are viewed as fair but if people who are victims, people who feel that there is no fairness in our system of government, particularly within our courts, we’ve gone down to a path that is not good and right for this country,” she said.
MURKOWSKI says she didn’t make up her mind until walking into the vote. “None of this has been fair.” pic.twitter.com/Hy8UdeCyQx
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) October 5, 2018
Shortly after casting her vote, Murkowski described Kavanaugh as a “good man,” but said he is “not the right man for the court.”
Murkowski received pressure from the Native American organizations in Alaska, a key constituency, to oppose Kavanaugh.
Other undecided GOP senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, had not confirmed their decision as of this writing.
Flake, however, said he intended to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation “unless something big changes.”
The Trump administration remains confident that Kavanaugh will be confirmed to fill the chair vacated by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Asked about the upcoming vote on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders sounded optimistic.
“We sure hope so,” she said when asked if there were enough votes to confirm the nominee. “I think we should. Moving into the weekend, we certainly hope the Senate will vote to confirm him.”
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