Law & the Courts

Flake Leaning ‘Yes’ on Kavanaugh

Senator Jeff Flake (R, Ariz.) in Manchester, N.H., October 1, 2018 (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has remained silent this week on whether he would support Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, told reporters on Friday that he would vote to confirm, barring any significant developments prior to the Saturday afternoon roll call.

The announcement comes after Flake voted to end debate on the nomination and move it to the Senate floor for a final vote. The procedural vote was passed 51–49, ensuring that the final confirmation vote will take place on Saturday.

Flake voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination out of the Judiciary Committee last Friday, but only after stipulating that he would not vote to confirm Kavanaugh until a supplementary FBI background check of no longer than one week had been completed. That demand was issued hours after he issued a statement indicating he would support Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

At the direction of the White House, the FBI interviewed a number of witnesses this week regarding the sexual-assault allegations brought against Kavanaugh and submitted a report summarizing its findings to the White House and Senate. That report did not contain any new information, according to Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley.

Republican senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor and is expected to vote no on his confirmation. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another key undecided Republican, voted yes on advancing the nomination and said she will announce her final decision on confirmation Friday afternoon.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted to move the nomination to the floor, but it remains unclear whether he will ultimately vote to confirm, though there is significant political pressure for him to do so, given the majority support for Kavanaugh among his constituents.

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