Pro-abortion Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to vote no Friday on advancing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for a final vote.
The Alaska senator has been one of several closely watched swing votes in the contentious confirmation process. Her vote Friday is a strong indication that she will vote no on Kavanaugh’s final confirmation.
After the vote, Murkowski told NBC that she believes Kavanaugh is “a good man” but may not be “the right man” for the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I did not come to a decision on this until walking into the floor this morning,” she said.
The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 Friday morning to advance Kavanaugh’s confirmation to a final vote. Among those supporting Kavanaugh were U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a pro-abortion Republican from Maine, Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona and Joe Manchin, a moderately pro-life Democrat from West Virginia.
Murkowski and Collins especially have been targets of pro-abortion lobbyists. Planned Parenthood alone spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pressure Murkowski and Collins to vote against Kavanaugh. Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other pro-abortion groups also have been pouring millions of dollars into the mid-term elections and lobbying efforts against Kavanaugh.
The Hill reports more about her vote Friday:
She announced her no vote so softly that colleagues had trouble hearing what she said, as did members of the press who were gathered in the galleries above the floor.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said he was not surprised that Murkowski bucked GOP leaders.
“I’ve worked with her. She’s stood up in the past on things. She’s a pretty independent person. She was with me on the Dream Act, from Alaska!” Durbin said, referring to legislation to protect illegal immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.
Murkowski met with dozens of Alaskan women who shared their stories of sexual assault in her office Thursday.
Murkowski is one of just a few senators who has not announced her final decision on Kavanaugh. On Thursday, Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News that she had “not finished reviewing the FBI report” on Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations made against him. She also said she did not know if the investigation was sufficiently thorough.
Earlier in the week, she told the Alaska Public Media that her office has received a record number of calls about Kavanaugh.
Murkowski and Collins are the only pro-abortion Republicans in the U.S. Senate. They regularly have bucked their party platform on abortion and voted against pro-life legislation. In 2017, they voted with their party on pro-life issues just 40 percent of the time. However, both did confirm President Donald Trump’s first U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation is particularly contentious because he would be the fifth conservative justice on the high court, if confirmed.
Abortion activists fear Kavanaugh, who has served on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. for more than a decade. He has an extensive record of protecting religious liberty, including in the Priests for Life case, and enforcing restrictions on abortion. Pro-life leaders believe he would do the same on the Supreme Court.
Pro-abortion groups have labeled Kavanaugh a “serious threat” to “women’s right” to abortion, while national pro-life leaders have expressed high hopes for Kavanaugh and the future of unborn babies’ rights.
As the Senate prepares to vote, Judge Kavanaugh defended himself in an emotional op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
Kavanaugh acknowledged Thursday he “might have been too emotional” when testifying in response to unproven allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct but he said he was so emotional because he wanted to clear his name of false claims.
The judge explained he will remain optimistic in the days ahead and put the past behind him.
“I revere the Constitution. I believe that an independent and impartial judiciary is essential to our constitutional republic. If confirmed by the Senate to serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep an open mind in every case and always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law,” he concluded.
His comments came after senators viewed the newly-released FBI supplemental report on Kavanaugh and they say the investigation exonerates him. According to a news report in the Wall Street Journal late Wednesday night, the White House has found no corroboration of the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
A final vote on his confirmation is slated for Saturday.
ACTION: Contact U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.