Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine delivered a 43-minute speech on the Senate floor Friday outlining her support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, all but clearing the way for the polarizing nominee to be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice.
Collins, who is seen as the swing vote that could sweep Kavanaugh onto the bench of the nation’s top court or derail President Donald Trump’s second nominee to become a justice, explained why she plans to vote yes on Saturday when the Senate holds Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. She also lamented the way Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor from California who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault decades ago, was thrust into the middle of a bitter drama that roiled the nation’s capital for weeks, admonishing the mystery person who leaked Ford’s letter to the media setting off bitter partisan feud. But, she said, “I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.”
Collins explained her decision saying that none of the witnesses Ford mentioned about the night in question were able to corroborate any of her key claims. She said she didn’t doubt the credibility of Ford’s claims, but said the lack of corroborating evidence shouldn’t derail the process. Her ‘ pledge to vote “yes” to confirm Kavanaugh all but sealed the embattled judge’s ascension to the top court. Moments after she wrapped up her speech on Friday, Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, said he also would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, describing him as a “qualified jurist.” Earlier Friday, in a cloture proceeding, the Senate voted 51-49 to approve an official vote on Kavanaugh, which will take place on Saturday.
I will vote to support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. pic.twitter.com/1FfuMTOZz8
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 5, 2018
Collins, whose office for the last couple weeks has routinely been besieged by protesters calling on her to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, drew sharp denunciations from many after delivering her speech. And Manchin, while speaking to reporters about his decision to back Kavanaugh, was drowned out by protesters shouting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” The decisions by Collins and Manchin were so contentious that the top five trends on Twitter Friday afternoon were variations on their names along with the word Maine, Collins’ home state.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, meanwhile, broke the other way and said she would vote ‘no’ on Kavanaugh and said she wrestled with the decision. “This hasn’t been fair to the judge,” Murkowski said in a statement explaining her decision, “but I also recognize that we need to have institutions that are viewed as fair and if people who are victims, people who feel that there is no fairness in our system of government, particularly in our courts, then you’ve gone down a path that is not good and right for this country.” Read Murkowski’s full statement here.
Protesters chanted, "Shame! Shame!" as Sen. Joe Manchin spoke to reporters after announcing support for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation.
— CNN (@CNN) October 5, 2018
Susan Collins let all women down voting 'yes' for Kavanaugh. Her self-righteous aria was loathsome to behold.
— Tina Brown (@TinaBrownLM) October 5, 2018
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) October 5, 2018
No matter how she votes, @SenatorCollins will leave an indelible mark on the future of this country. This vote will be her legacy.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) October 5, 2018
We are all rightly pissed at Susan Collins, but let's save at least some of the outrage for Joe Manchin, a Democrat, who also just sold women out and was way more cowardly about it.
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) October 5, 2018
Below, watch the full video of Collins’ remarks on the Senate floor.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.