Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, an announcement that virtually assures he will fill the seat left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy after the Senate holds the final vote on Saturday. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also announced that he will vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation in a Friday statement.
During a lengthy floor speech, Collins lamented that Kavanaugh’s nomination had “become so dysfunctional, it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.” She railed against the “special interests” that almost immediately opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination before his name was revealed.
Collins said she believes Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is a victim of sexual assault, but that because there was not enough corroborating evidence for her claims. “I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court,” she said.
Her announcement comes after weeks of painstaking deliberation. From the beginning of the process, Collins was a critical swing vote due to her support of abortion rights. Her decision was made harder after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Kavanaugh, who has denied all of the accusations.
Collins joined Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in calling for an additional FBI investigation into two of the claims against Kavanaugh. Once the FBI delivered their findings, Collins spent hours in a secure Senate room reviewing them. Telling reporters the investigation was “thorough.”