Susan Collins will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

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Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican everyone had been waiting on to announce her vote, built up her support for Kavanaugh in a roughly 45-minute speech before concluding, "Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh".

Lawmakers might vote differently on the climactic confirmation roll call, and Collins told reporters that she wouldn't rule out doing so.

Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the US Supreme Court is all but assured. I believe he is a good man.

Demonstrators gather outside the Senate office of Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, the lone Republican to vote against advancing Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday.

Collins' speech was immediately interrupted by protesters in the Senate gallery, who chanted "vote no", indicative of the enormous pressure she faced to oppose Kavanaugh's nomination.

"Hey @LisaMurkowski - I can see 2022 from my house.", she tweeted Friday.

Another key Republican senator, Susan Collins, a moderate from ME, voted in favour of Judge Kavanaugh on Friday.

Conservative commentators hit back against Murkowski's vote.

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But when it came to Murkowski, she stood up, paused, and whispered "no", her voice barely audible. Others in the gallery could hardly hear her. It is a talking point for their continued and predictable criticism of Democrats. Senators stood up in their chairs and voted, some of them loudly. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks towards to the Senate chamber to listen to Sen.

Rice was one of several Democrats on Friday openly discussing the possibility of running against Collins in a presidential swing state that has a history of political independence. Joe Manchin (D-WV) will vote, however, he did vote to move the process forward during the cloture vote Friday morning as did Collins.

A final vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected on Saturday afternoon.

"He's just an extraordinary person... and I think he's going to make us all very proud", Trump added. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied all of the allegations, including at a hearing featuring testimony from him and Ford last week. "I could not conclude that he is the right person for the court at this time", the senator said.

This hasn't been fair to the judge, but I also recognize that we need to have institutions that are viewed as fair and if people who are victims, people who feel that there is no fairness in our system of government, particularly in our courts, then you've gone down a path that is not good and right for this country. In the end, she let issues "bigger than the nominee" sway her decision.

"Vote them out!" the protesters chanted, along with: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Kavanaugh has got to go".

A liberal group which raises money for Democratic candidates, Priorities USA, immediately said it would not be giving any funds to his re-election campaign.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seems destined to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side.