Sens. Susan Collins & Joe Manchin Say They Will Vote For Brett Kavanaugh, Ensuring Judge’s Confirmation [FULL SPEECH]
Sen. Susan Collins announced Friday afternoon that she would vote “yes” on Brett Kavanaugh‘s nomination to the Supreme Court, all but ensuring the judge will be confirmed to serve on the nation’s highest court.
The Maine moderate Republican was considered one of three key swing votes to approve 53-year-old Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Collins was the only undecided lawmaker among GOP senators, while West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat who had not yet said how he will vote, although he also announced Friday afternoon that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Manchin called the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals judge a “qualified jurist.” The final vote was thus 51-49.
Manchin shared his full statement on Twitter:
I will vote to support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. pic.twitter.com/1FfuMTOZz8
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 5, 2018
In a speech on the Senate floor that began at 3 p.m. EST on Friday, Collins stated she believes Kavanaugh is entitled to a “presumption of innocence” for his alleged assaults.
“Certain fundamental legal principles about due process, presumption of innocence and fairness do bear on my thinking and I cannot abandon them,” she said in her speech. “I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.”
Collins continued: “Judge Kavanaugh has been unequivocal in his belief that no president is above the law.” She also laid out a series of arguments to defend the Supreme Court pick, whom she said she did not believe would overturn the Barack Obama–era Affordable Care Act. The Maine senator also voiced her support for the #MeToo movement.
“The Me Too movement is real. It matters. It is needed, and it is long overdue,” said Collins. “I found [Christine Blasey Ford‘s] 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.”
Collins’ decision on Kavanaugh seems to directly contradict something she said this summer, shortly before President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July: that she would not vote for a Supreme Court nominee who would overturn the landmark 1873 Roe vs. Wade case on abortion rights. Given Kavanaugh’s anti-choice record, many legal analysts like CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin have predicted that the judge could help make abortion illegal in many states if he was confirmed.