Senate panel plans to vote Friday on Kavanaugh

Associated Press
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.

Republican senators say the Judiciary Committee plans to vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second ranking-Republican, had said Thursday that the GOP conference would meet and “see where we are.” After meeting, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “There will be a vote tomorrow morning.”

More: Fiery Kavanaugh denies quiet accuser Ford in Senate showdown

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a moderate Democrat, said he is voting “no” on Kavenaugh’s bid for the Supreme Court. Jones said: “The Kavanaugh nomination process has been flawed from the beginning.” He said Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was credible and courageous in her claim that she was sexually assaulted by Kavenaugh years ago. And he said late Thursday that he is concerned about the message the vote will be sending to sons and daughters, as well as victims of sexual assault.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona says it’s a “tough call” on whether to support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court after his dramatic testimony on a sexual assault accusation. The Republican is among a handful of undecided senators on Kavanaugh. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

GOP Sen. Bob Corker says he’ll be voting to confirm. The Tennessee Republican said Thursday that Kavanaugh is “qualified to serve.”

A Democratic senator who is undecided on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court says she needs to “fully digest” the committee hearing on a sexual assault allegation against him.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota praised the “courage” of Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to the Senate that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in a bedroom when they were teens. Kavanaugh in his own testimony denied ever sexually assaulting anyone.

Heitkamp also said it was important that the Senate Judiciary Committee heard Kavanaugh’s side of the story.

She stressed that a nonpartisan FBI investigation should be conducted to “bring greater clarity” to Ford’s claim and Kavanaugh’s denial.

Heitkamp is running for re-election this year in a state where President Donald Trump is popular, and she is under pressure over her vote on Kavanaugh. She is facing Rep. Kevin Cramer in a race seen as critical for Republicans’ chances to keep the Senate.

Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault, California psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, spent hours testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ford told senators that one night in the summer of 1982, a drunken Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes. Kavanaugh, testifying second, forcefully denied the accusation and said he’s never sexually assaulted anyone.