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Key Republican Senator’s Statement Hints Kavanaugh’s Confirmation May Be a Done Deal


Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Hearing

A recent statement by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) hints that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may well be confirmed.

She is echoing Collins’ line about the likelihood of Kavanaugh overturning the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The nominee’s views on abortion were scrutinized (that is, before sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others completely changed the tone of his confirmation proceedings). Pundits argued he could be the fifth conservative vote to get rid of Roe after the retirement of “swing voter” Anthony Kennedy. This could be key in what is shaping up to be a party-line confirmation of the embattled nominee.

Both Senators have reputations as moderates, and Collins represents Maine, a state that leaned blue during the 2016 presidential election. She has said she wouldn’t support a nominee who would overturn Roe. Nonetheless, Republicans command a slight 51-49 majority in the Senate. Murkowski and Collins have yet to give clear answers on whether they’ll support Kavanaugh, even though plenty of their colleagues have announced their decision.

Also publicly undecided as of Thursday is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, one of the three Democrats who voted for Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. In spite of the sexual assault allegations, he hardly seems ready to jump ship on Kavanaugh.

“I am looking at the gentleman as an adult from 22 to 53, thirty-one years of professional service,” he told Al Jazeera. “I am looking at him as a father. As a person in a community, how he interacts with his community. I am trying to put the human side to it.”

The other two Dems who sided with Gorsuch, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, have already promised they’ll vote against Kavanaugh. All three of the Democratic Senators serve states that President Donald Trump won in the 2016 election.

If either Collins, Murkoswki, or Manchin sides with Kavanaugh, it guarantees at least a 50-50 vote in the Senate. Confirmation is certain in this case since the tie-breaker, Vice President Mike Pence, is guaranteed to side with the nominee.

[Image via ANDREW HARNIK/AFP/Getty Images.]

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