Kavanaugh clears hurdle on way to top U.S. court

Ken Starr during his swearing-in for the impeachment hearings in the house....Rebecca Roth/@Roll Call

Ken Starr during his swearing-in for the impeachment hearings in the house....Rebecca Roth/@Roll Call

The US Senate's 51-49 procedural vote to advance the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh comes down to several key questions about a trio of senators who will make the final call on the Supreme Court nominee's fate this weekend.

That final vote is expected as soon as Saturday.

Senator Joe Manchin, the only remaining undecided Democrat, said he would finish reading the report on Friday morning.

Under pressure from wavering fellow Republicans, GOP leaders agreed to an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week that absorbed the nation as Ford nervously recounted her story and said she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker.

What was already a sharply partisan battle became an intense political drama when university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Mr Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school in Maryland in 1982.

"It's a lot of work - maybe they don't want to do it", Grassley told the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and other outlets, as he headed toward the Senate floor for a speech by Sen. I believe he is a good man. "I will continue to stand up for them".

We have to give a deserved shout-out, though, to Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Washington, D.C. and around the country this week, calling on Senators not to confirm Kavanaugh in the midst of a national reckoning over sexual harassment and assault.

Another, Republican Lisa Murkowski, said she had not made up her mind on her final vote but suggested she might oppose Mr Kavanaugh.

Here's what some Democratic senators have said about the report, which contained summaries of the FBI's interviews and of which we American citizens are not allowed to know the actual contents.

A failure to advance Kavanaugh's nomination would deliver a potentially fatal blow to Donald Trump's embattled supreme court pick, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

UNITED STATES- SEPTEMBER 27 Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. points at the Democrats as he defends Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States focus

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was unable to locate "any third parties who could attest to any of these allegations - no backup from any witnesses, including those specifically named as eyewitnesses by the people who brought the allegations in the first place".

No Republicans have said they will vote against Kavanaugh, although four have not committed to supporting him.

Kavanaugh denied claims by former schoolmate Dr Christine Blasey Ford that he attempted to rape her during a party in the 1980s.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sen. "It looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation". "We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI's hands".

Republicans have a slim 51-49 hold on the Senate.

The editorial was published on the eve of a pivotal vote in his confirmation.

"He will be an illegitimate justice, and his confirmation will mark a point of no return for the Supreme Court's reputation as the one, apolitical branch of government", Fallon said. The nine-member court is now operating with eight justices.

The top court would then lean solidly conservative 5-4.

On Thursday afternoon, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told a small gathering in Boca Raton, Florida, that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed, according to the Palm Beach Post. "I've changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability ..."

He said he predicts that the number female senators on the committee would likely increase come January.

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