In an extremely lengthy speech on the Senate floor this afternoon, Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins, previously a potential swing vote, announced she would be voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
"I believe that Judge Kavanaugh is a good man".
Of the three Republican senators thought to be on the fence going into this dramatic day, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake voted "aye" while Lisa Murkowski voted "no". Trump has been talking to staff and Republican allies in the Senate as the vote draws near, said a person with knowledge of the process but not authorised to speak publicly.
After weeks of intense debate that has gripped the nation, the conservative appeals court judge on Friday won vows of support from two centrist senators, leaving no clear path in the Senate for Kavanaugh's opponents to block him.
Manchin, the only remaining undeclared lawmaker, used an emailed statement to announce his support for Kavanaugh moments after Collins finished talking.
Under rules approved previous year, 50 votes are needed for a majority in the procedural vote, which will be followed by a debate on the nomination before a final, definitive confirmation vote.
In theory, Kavanaugh could be confirmed, sworn in and then be able to sit on the bench in his robes on Tuesday when the court is next in session.
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Kavanaugh himself has revealed some regrets over his angry testimony in a Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled, "I Am an Independent, Impartial Judge".
Judge Kavanaugh has faced sexual assault allegations from several women, most prominently from Prof Ford.
All but one Republican lined up behind him, arguing that a truncated FBI investigation turned up no corroborating witnesses and that Kavanaugh had sterling credentials for the court. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), who also signaled that he would vote for the judge.
"Millions of Americans, millions of women are watching us today", said New York Sen.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh would tip the balance on the court to a 5-4 majority in favour of conservatives in possible legal battles ahead over contentious issues such as abortion rights, immigration, and Trump's attempt to ban transgender people from the US military.
"This is one vote that we probably won't know until the votes are actually cast", Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, told reporters on Capitol Hill. But he said he will because he considers Kavanaugh a "qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution".
Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the GOP leadership, said he would be "very surprised" if Murkowski switches her vote. Also voting to move the nomination forward was Democratic Sen.
She has been noticeably warm toward Kavanaugh since Trump nominated him in mid-July, despite her promise that she would not consider a nominee who is hostile to Roe. The Senate Judiciary Committee says the Federal Bureau of Investigation also interviewed two alleged eyewitnesses to the incident named by Ramirez and one of her college friends. Kavanaugh's nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.