Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced that she plans to vote yes on Saturday’s final floor vote on the confirmation of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after she voted yes to invoking cloture on his nomination Friday morning.
With Collins a yes, Kavanaugh’s confirmation is now all but certain. If the one remaining undecided senator, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, votes yes, Kavanaugh will be confirmed 51-49.
Even if Manchin votes no and the Senate comes down 50-50 on Kavanaugh, Vice President Mike Pence could cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm him, which would be the first time in history the vice president cast a tie-breaking vote on the confirmation of a federal judge.
As a moderate Republican who supports abortion rights, not only has Collins’s vote has been heavily scrutinized for months, but she is also the subject of a historically unprecedented fundraising campaign from Maine activists that will automatically trigger over $1.9 million in donor pledges to fund her future opponent when she goes up for re-election in 2020 if she votes yes on Kavanaugh.
While Collins and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decried the campaign as a form of bribery, law professors Deborah Hellman and Stuart Green wrote in The Atlantic that the campaign does not fit the legal parameters of a bribe because they are threatening to give the funds to her eventual, unnamed opponent instead of offering her money to vote a certain way.
Kavanaugh, a federal judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is embroiled in scandal relating to sexual assault allegations dating back to the early 1980s, which he has vehemently denied both under oath and to the press.
His confirmation was delayed in order for him and accuser Christine Blasey Ford to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and for the FBI to conduct a supplemental background investigation into the allegations, which was completed on Wednesday.