Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke on the Senate floor and declared that she will be voting to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh tomorrow to be the next Associate Supreme Court Justice. She joins Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) as the other previously undecided Senator to declare in the affirmative.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) declared she will be voting against Kavanaugh earlier.
The other Senator on the fence, Joe Manchin (D-WV), has not made an announcement but was the only Democrat to vote for cloture this morning. If Collins, Flake, and all the Republicans other than Murkowski vote for confirmation, Manchin’s vote will only determine whether the confirmation is complete Saturday or if it must wait until Sunday when Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) returns to Washington DC from his daughter’s wedding. In the unlikely scenario of Manchin voting against his constituents’ wishes, Vice President Mike Pence will have to break the tie.
Update: Manchin is a Yes as well:
I will vote to support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. pic.twitter.com/1FfuMTOZz8
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 5, 2018
Collins spent around an hour talking about Kavanaugh’s qualifications and the process she followed in deciding to vote for him. She also took the opportunity to speak out mildly against President Trump who some fear nominated Kavanaugh because of his position that sitting Presidents should be protected from criminal and civil investigations until after their term.
A pro-choice moderate Republican, Collins detailed her questioning of Kavanaugh over Roe v. Wade and other decisions regarding abortion. It was a necessary statement to justify her decision to confirm a pro-life Supreme Court Justice. She then diffused the President’s promise to nominate judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade by noting that every Republican presidential platform included such promises, yet Roe v. Wade still stands.
The last portion of her speech was an explanation of her perspectives on Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh. It was an often-awkward and meandering diatribe against how the Democrats handled the process while maintaining that she believes Ford was sexually assaulted. She railed against whoever leaked Ford’s letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein about the assault, causing Ford to come forward publicly despite her wishes to remain anonymous. The insinuation was that someone in Feinstein’s office or Feinstein herself was the leaker.
Here is how she concluded her remarks:
Collins: 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. Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) October 5, 2018
Collins is still a Democrat in Republican clothing, but her words will do more to put moderate pro-choice voters at ease than anything that’s been said to date. She also gave an eloquent explanation of how due process applies in confirmation hearings, something that’s been debated heavily since the allegations of sexual abuse were made public.
For once, Senator Collins is doing the right thing. She’ll betray conservatives again and again in the future, but for today she’s earned a degree of gratitude. Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will go a long way towards saving our republic.