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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Kavanaugh, But Final Vote May be Delayed

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In a party line vote, the US Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 to recommend the full Senate confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a frequent critic of President Trump and the deciding vote, said he would vote to move the nomination to the floor of the Senate, but would not support a final vote to confirm Kavanaugh without a one-week delay to allow for an FBI investigation into numerous allegations of sexual assault against the nominee.

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said he would support that request but noted that it is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sets the Senate calendar.

The vote comes a day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified to the committee that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations and blasted Democrats in his testimony yesterday afternoon.

The full Senate is expected to vote on Monday, though confirmation is not a foregone conclusion. At least three additional allegations of sexual misconduct, as well as allegations of heavy drinking, still hang over the nominee.

Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly, who had been courted as a potential yes vote, has pledged to vote no. As of midmorning Friday, two Republicans and one Democrat with potential swing votes — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) — remained silent about their plans.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate and need at least 50 votes to confirm the controversial nominee, as Vice President Mike Pence would be expected to vote in favor of Kavanaugh to break a tie, if necessary.