Senators vote on Kavanaugh's nomination
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, tweeted praise for Sen. Susan Collins' decision to support Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Grassley compared Collins to the late Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who gave a now-famous 1950 speech, and who Grassley called "trailblazing."
"I commend Sen Collins for her thoughtfulness and am proud to have her support for such a well qualified nominee," Grassley wrote.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins just announced that she was supporting Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation after delivering a 45-minute speech before her colleagues on the Senate floor.
Here are a few key quotes from her speech:
- Her decision: "Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh."
- On why she voting for Kavanaugh: "Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored.
- On Kavanaugh's confirmation process: "But today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional, it looks more like a caricature of a gutter level political campaign than a solemn occasion.
- On the controversy surrounding his record: "Over-the-top rhetoric and distortions of his record and testimonies at his first hearing produced short-lived headlines, which although debunked hours later continued to live on and be spread through social media."
- On Kavanaugh's position on presidential power: "Judge Kavanaugh has been unequivocal in his belief that no president is above the law."
- On Christine Blasey Ford's allegations: "I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life."
- On the Congress' handling of the allegations: "This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not as our standard."
- On Kavanaugh's nomination: "Mr. President, the politically charged atmosphere surrounding this nomination has reached a fever pitch, even before these allegations were known and it has been challenging even then to separate fact from fiction."
- On the #MeToo movement: "The #MeToo movement is real. It matters. It is needed and it is long overdue."
- On supporting survivors of sexual assault: "We must listen to survivors, and every day we must seek to stop the criminal behavior that has hurt so many. We owe this to ourselves, our children and generations to come."
Former President George H.W. Bush took to Twitter to praise Republican Sen. Susan Collins' decision to vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.
Read his tweet:
Speaking shortly after Sen. Susan Collins announced she would vote yes for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thanked her and applauded her speech.
"Those of us who’ve been in the Chamber today have had a unique opportunity to listen to a great statesman from Maine once again talk about this institution, how it ought to treat matters like this, and that she’s given us the opportunity to think about how we can rise above the depths to which we’ve sunk during this process." McConnell said.
"I want to thank the senator from Maine. I’ve not heard a better speech in my time here and I’ve been here awhile. It was absolutely inspirational."
As Sen. Joe Manchin spoke to reporters after announcing his support for Kavanaugh's confirmation, protesters began chanting, "Shame! Shame!"
Individual voices in the crowd could be heard crying out, "Shame on you!" and "What is wrong with you?"
Manchin spoke with his eyes averted, to which the crowd responded by changing their chant to "Look at us, look at us!"
With both Collins and Manchin now voting yes, Kavanaugh is expected to have the support to be confirmed when a final vote takes place Saturday.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn sat with their chairs turned around facing Sen. Susan Collins for her floor speech.
Sitting directly behind Collins were three Republican women who already backed Kavanaugh: Sens. Joni Enrst, Shelley Moore Capito and Cindy Hyde-Smith.
A handful of Democrats, including Sen. Dick Durbin, sat solemnly during the speech.
When Collins concluded, her Republican colleagues stood and applauded her.
McConnell went to hug her, followed by the rest of the Republicans in the chamber.
She and Sen. Chuck Grassley hugged for several seconds when he came to greet her.
Minutes after Sen. Susan Collins announced on the Senate floor that she would vote yes to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. Joe Manchin, a red-state Democrat, released a statement declaring his support.
"I have reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh and the temperament he displayed in the hearing," Manchin wrote, expressing sympathy for sexual assault survivors.
"However, based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him."
"That is why I voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court because I believe he will rule in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution.”
Read the full statement:
Sen. Susan Collins, speaking from the Senate floor Friday afternoon, said she will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
"Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored," she said.
"Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh," Collins said.
Her announcement essentially secures that the judge has enough support to be confirmed when a final vote takes place Saturday.
Before announcing her decision, Collins explained her past voting record for Supreme Court justices in a 45-minute speech.
The Maine Republican said she voted to advance Supreme Court justice nominations under both Republican and Democratic presidents.
Sen. Susan Collins addressed Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault, calling her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee "sincere, painful, and compelling."
"I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life," Collins said. However, she then stressed that Ford's allegations could not be corroborated.
"The four witnesses she (Ford) named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred. None of the individuals professor Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of the night," Collins said, pointing out that Ford could not remember how she got home and questioning why Ford's friends had not called the next day.
She also called allegations against Kavanaugh of gang rape "outlandish," and said they "illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important."
In the same breath, however, she expressed support for survivors of sexual assault. "The #MeToo movement is real," she declared. "It matters. It is needed and it is long overdue."
"We must listen to survivors, and every day we must seek to stop the criminal behavior that has hurt so many. We owe this to ourselves, our children and generations to come."