Caption

Kavanaugh confirmation: Sen. Susan Collins defends vote for Kavanaugh calling it a ‘tough one’

The Senate voted Saturday to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, capping a bitter confirmation process that churned up accusations of decades-old sexual assaults and left the chamber bitterly divided.

>> Read more trending news 

The chamber voted 50-48, virtually along party lines with one Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and one Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, breaking ranks.

The confirmation handed President Donald Trump a political victory that will likely change the tenor of the Supreme Court for years to come.

Related: As Kavanaugh joins Court, Trump, GOP try to seize election momentum

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 Georgia High School Sports Scores
  2. 2 Mega Millions: How much money will you actually get if you win?
  3. 3 Gwinnett man ordered assault, rape of ex from prison

Kavanaugh’s nomination has been a contentious one amid charges of sexual misconduct and debates over whether Kavanaugh has the temperament to sit on the nation’s highest court. 

Live updates

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 7: Maine Republican Susan Collins was a key vote in the Senate’s controversial  confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Collins spent Sunday making the rounds on the weekend news shows defending her vote amid harsh criticism and threats against her anticipated re-election bid in 2020.

“This was a tough one,” she told John Dickerson on “Face the Nation.”

>> Related: Photos: Kavanaugh protests escalate on Capitol Hill

“I have to do what I think is right. Over the years, the people of Maine have trusted me to exercise my best judgment. That’s what I did in the case," Collins said.

“Whatever the voters that decide, but I’m going to do what I think is right. That’s what I owe my constituents," she said.

Collins also defended Kavanaugh’s temperament during his Senate hearing over the sexual assault allegation by Christine Blasey Ford.

"His anger and his anguish, I think, are understandable ... He was reacting as a human being, as a father of two young girls," she said.

But Democratic colleagues, like Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), criticized Collins’ reasoning in voting to confirm Kavanaugh.

>> Related: Sen. Susan Collins' speech supporting Brett Kavanaugh hot topic on Twitter 

Hirono said on “State of the Union” that it’s hard to understand Collins’ reasoning in light of Ford’s credible testimony.

Collins said she didn’t believe that Kavanaugh assaulted Ford.

“She said that Dr. Ford thinks she was assaulted, which is even more insulting then saying she gave a very credible account.”

“To say that she (Collins) thinks that Dr. Ford thinks she was assaulted, what is that?” Hirono said.

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT Oct. 7: Julie Swetnick, the third person accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, released a statement through her attorney Michael Avenatti.

In her statement, Swetnick criticized some members of the media and politicians who were critical of her coming forward during the nomination process.

“They claim my allegations were ‘not helpful to the process.’ This is outrageous and shows a complete lack of empathy for survivors,” she said. “I had every right to come forward and I literally placed my life in jeopardy to do so.”

Swetnick also criticized Trump, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Ted Cruz and others for affecting the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh.

“They purposely prevented any inquiry into my claims and those of other sexual assault victims in the interest of politics,” she said. “They then had the audacity to claim our claims were not credible even though they never allowed any investigation to determine their credibility...

“Senator Susan Collins’ actions on Friday were especially shameful and an attack on all sexual assault victims. She showed herself to be someone that cares more about politics than women and victims.”

Read Swetnick’s full statement below:

Update 7:09 a.m. EDT Oct. 7: President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday night to slam Democrats after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob,” Trump tweeted. “Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of law - not the rule of the mob. VOTE REPUBLICAN!”

 

The comments came after Trump spoke at a rally in Topeka, Kansas, calling Democrats a “radical, angry mob” and singing Kavanaugh’s praises.

“I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved Constitution,” Trump said at the rally.

 

Update at 10 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: President Donald Trump told reporters from Air Force One that he is a “hundred percent” sure that the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school named the wrong person.

 

Trump also told reporters on Air Force One that one of the reasons he chose Kavanaugh “is because there’s nobody with a squeaky-clean past” like him.

Update at 7 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice Saturday night after the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed him.

Retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, right, administers the Judicial Oath to Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the Justices' Conference Room of the Supreme Court Building. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible. At left are their daughters, Margaret, background, and Liza. (Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via AP) (Fred Schilling/AP)

  

Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in at the court building, across the street from the Capitol, even as protesters chanted outside.

Update at 4:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Kavanaugh will be sworn in later Saturday by Chief Justice John Roberts and retired Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Update at 4:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Trump tweets:

 

Update at 4 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Kavanaugh’s nomination passes on a 50-48 vote.

Update at 3:49 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Manchin is the first Democrat to vote “yes.” Murkowski withdraws her vote, mentioning Sen. Steve Daines who is attending his daughter’s wedding.

Update at 3:46 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Protesters are screaming again.

Update at 3:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: The clerk is calling the roll for votes.

Update 3:44 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Vice President Mike Pence is presiding over the vote. A protester is being taken from the chamber. More protesters are screaming.

Update 3:34 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Sen. Sen.  Mitch McConnell is speaking now. “The  courts guard our rights, and the Senate guards our courts.”

Update 3:27 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is speaking now. He is deriding the Republicans for pushing Kavanaugh’s nomination through the confirmation process. He calls for Americans to make their wishes known at the ballot box. “If you believe the Supreme Court must uphold women’s rights, vote.”

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: As senators begin to gather for the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told Fox News that the confirmation process had been "nasty," but "nothing has been irreparably damaged” when it came to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. 

McConnell said the actions of the Democrats, “played right into our hands, in retrospect.”

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Jamie Dupree sets the scene in Washington:

 

Update 2:38 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Here’s what Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, says about his vote:

 

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT Oct. 6The New York Times is reporting that Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, says his party will open an investigation into allegations of sexual assault and perjury against Brett Kavanaugh if Democrats win control of the House in November.

“It is not something we are eager to do,” Nadler told the Times on Friday.

Nadler said that because the Senate “failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.” 

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: How will the vote be taken? Like this: 

 

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: First lady Melania Trump offered her support to Brett Kavanaugh from Africa where she is on a trip.

“I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court,” the first lady told reporters traveling with her in Egypt on the final leg of her four-country tour of Africa.

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: The vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is now expected to take place at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

 

Update 1:21 p.m EDT Oct. 6: People  continue to protest in Washington.

 

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is expected to be voting “present” instead of “no” during the vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation so that Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, can attend his daughter’s wedding, according to Fox News

Murkowski broke with Republicans on Friday to vote “no” on ending debate on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. 

Daines had said he would attend his daughter’s wedding then fly back to Washington Saturday night to vote in favor of Kavanaugh if his vote was needed. 

If Murkowski votes “present” and not “no” then Daines’ vote would not be needed to confirm Kavanaugh to the court. 

Update 12:21 p.m. EDT Oct. 6: Capitol Police said they arrested 101 people Friday as they protested Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Seventy-eight were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating in Senate office buildings and six were arrested on the Senate Gallery for protesting during Maine Sen. Susan Collins' speech on the floor. 

Sixteen were also arrested for blocking the street in front of the Supreme Court, and one was arrested for marijuana use.

Update 11:59 a.m. EDT Oct. 6

President Donald Trump has tweeted his  support for the upcoming confirmation vote.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Protesters march toward the Supreme Court as they demonstrate against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

More from AJC