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Kavanaugh has the votes

An illustration of a man's silhouette with Kavanaugh's head shrinking in it
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Brett Kavanaugh appears likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court within the next day or two.

Driving the news: Sens. Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Joe Manchin will vote "yes," while Lisa Murkowski is a "no." That puts Kavanaugh at 51 expected votes.

What happened: Collins delivered her decision in a 45+ minute speech on the Senate floor:

  • "Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination. One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom." (Worth noting: Dark money group Judicial Crisis Network has spent millions in favor of Kavanaugh.)
  • "I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford's testimonybefore the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life. Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred." 
  • “I have been alarmed and disturbed, however, by some who have suggested that unless Judge Kavanaugh's nomination is rejected, the Senate is somehow condoning sexual assault. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
  • "The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard."
  • "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."

The bottom line: This is the second time in three decades that a woman's public accusation of sexual misconduct failed to derail a man's nomination to the Supreme Court.

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