Associated Press

Senate Panel Advances Kavanaugh To Full Senate Vote

September 28, 2018 - 1:10 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

2 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted along party lines to advance Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination to the Senate floor.

The 11-10 vote Friday came just one day after Republicans heard testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.

At the last minute, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, said he could not promise to vote for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor and called for a delay of up to a week for a further investigation.

Republicans voted to move ahead with Kavanaugh's nomination.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley noted the timing on Senate vote was up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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1:40 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was supposed to be voting at 1:30 p.m. Friday on whether to recommend Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, but something is afoot.

Behind-the-scenes negotiations have delayed the committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.

It wasn't clear what was being discussed. Republicans believed they had to votes to advance Kavanaugh out of the committee when Sen. Jeff Flake announced his support earlier Friday.

But senators seated in the hearing room are talking among themselves -- and Flake is not seated. Some senators have stepped out of the room.

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1:10 p.m.

Senate Republicans do not yet have the votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That's according to Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking member of Republican leadership.

Thune said that Republicans still have "a little work to do" to get enough support.

Whether Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court could hinge on the votes of two Republican senators: Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. It does not appear that President Donald Trump or the White House is reaching out to them to try and influence their decision.

Thune said while such calls may be well-intended, "it's better to let people decide on their own up here."

Republicans have set a committee vote for Friday afternoon to send Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

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1:10 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota says "there are a lot of lawyers in America who can sit on the court" and Brett Kavanaugh isn't the only person who can do the job.

Heitkamp said Friday she hasn't decided whether to support Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. But her remarks to the AP suggest she may vote no.

Heitkamp is facing a tough re-election this year in a Republican-leaning state. Her decision on Kavanaugh is being closely watched.

She said she found testimony from both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault, "compelling" but "this is not a criminal case."

Heitkamp says appointees "don't all have to come from Harvard and Yale and they don't all have to come from prep schools

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12:40 p.m.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester says he will join other Democrats in voting against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Tester is up for re-election this year in his deeply Republican home state. But he said he has concerns about Kavanaugh's positions on privacy issues, campaign finance and about a California professor's claim that he sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh denied Christine Blasey Ford's allegations in a hearing Thursday.

Tester said he has requested a meeting with Kavanaugh "numerous times" but the White House wouldn't commit.

The Montana senator said his office had received "thousands of calls and emails from Montanans" about Kavanaugh, a majority of which were opposed to his confirmation.

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12:30 p.m.

The dean of Yale Law School is calling for additional investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate votes on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dean Heather Gerken said in statement Friday that she agrees with the American Bar Association that more investigation is needed. Gerken said proceeding with the confirmation process without more review is not in the best interest of the Supreme Court or the legal profession.

Kavanaugh received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination Friday afternoon. A vote in favor will send the nomination to the full Senate.

Kavanaugh denies allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh says he's never sexually assaulted anyone.

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11:50 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly says he'll vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Donnelly is a moderate Democrat who voted for President Donald Trump's first nominee to the high court, Neil Gorsuch (GOR'-suhch).

Donnelly is up for re-election this year in Indiana, which is a strongly Republican state.

His decision comes after a hearing Thursday when a California professor testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh also testified and denied Christine Blasey Ford's allegations.

Donnelly says Ford's allegations are "disturbing and credible" and should be investigated by the FBI, which Trump and Senate Republicans say isn't needed.

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11:45 a.m.

Anita Hill says one of the things that stood out to her from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's testimony was how emotional and angry it was compared with the "calm" words coming from the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were teenagers.

Kavanaugh denies the accusation.

Hill gave Senate testimony in 1991 about her allegations of sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Hill — speaking Friday in Houston — says Kavanaugh "was able to express a real anger, an aggression, as well as a lot of emotion."

She said no woman nomination to the high court "would ever have the license to express (herself) in that way."

Hill says she was impressed with the calm and careful testimony of Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

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11:40 a.m.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas says it is "cruel" and "indecent" for Democrats to seek public testimony from Mark Judge, a high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Judge has told the committee in a signed statement that he doesn't recall the events described by Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford.

She accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.

Ford has told senators that Judge was in the room during the alleged assault. Democrats have asked for the committee to subpoena Judge, but Republicans have voted down the request.

Cornyn says Judge admits to being a recovering alcoholic and is a cancer survivor. Cornyn says Democrats are ignoring that and seeking to "drag Mr. Judge into this circus-like atmosphere" and subject his battles with addition to public ridicule.

In Cornyn's words: "That is cruel. That is reckless. That is indecent."

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