FOLLOWING CONTENTIOUS, UNPRECEDENTED CONFIRMATION PROCESS

by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 6, 2018) — At approximately 1:20 PM EDT Saturday, NBC News’s Frank Thorpe V tweeted that the U.S. Senate’s final vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court will occur between approximately 3:30 PM and 3:45 PM.

On Friday night, Fox News reported that the vote might take place a bit later, close to 5:00 PM EDT.

A Friday-morning cloture vote was held during which 51 Senate Republicans voted in favor of cloture and 49 Democrats and Independents, collectively, voted against it.

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to vote against cloture.  She said she planned to vote “no” on Saturday but to have her vote recorded as “present” in a “pairing” arrangement with Montana’s Steve Daines, who wishes to vote “yes” but has plans to attend his daughter’s wedding.  Daines will therefore be counted as “absent.”

Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia and running for re-election next month, voted for cloture and said he will vote “yea” on Saturday.

While Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed 50-48, that number is not assured until the votes are actually cast.

The 12-year member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit faced unexpected and unprecedented sexual misconduct claims dating back to his high school years following a grueling four-day hearing schedule in early September, after which his nomination appeared almost assured.  On September 27, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, one of three publicly-identified accusers, and Kavanaugh testified in turn to the Senate Judiciary Committee as to the allegations.  When asked, Ford stated that she was “100%” certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker 36 years ago, with Kavanaugh refuting it vehemently and becoming uncharacteristically emotional.

Some pundits have pointed out that Democrats opposed Kavanaugh even before he was nominated because no one on Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees is to their liking.  Many Democrats have said they fear that “women’s rights” and the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade will be eroded if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution provides the Senate with “advice and consent” authority over executive-branch appointments such as federal judges and cabinet secretaries.

Update, 2:39 p.m. EDT:  As Senators are making their final comments on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, protesters are heard shouting, to which the president of the session has called for the sergeant-at-arms “restore order” each time.  A Senate rule requires that observers refrain from indicating their approval or dissatisfaction with speakers’ remarks.

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