Kavanaugh Passes Key Procedural Senate Vote After Vigorous Debate

Update: Kavanaugh received enough votes to advance to nomination. Notably, GOP swing vote Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - who Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) gave a "talking to" in the Senate hallway last week - voted no, while Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voited yes. 

The final vote to confirm Kavanaugh will be held on Saturday. 

Dianne Feinstein talks to GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted "no" 

The Senate is voting on whether to formally end debate on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. 

Friday's vote will be a crucial test to gauge if he has enough support to win confirmation next week, tipping the Supreme Court to a conservative majority. 

As a practical matter, the parliamentary move could force senators to show where they stand. If 51 vote to stop debate, Kavanaugh could be confirmed as soon as Saturday. -Philadelphia Inquirer

Kavanaugh's fate in the hands of GOP swing voters

According to Axios, the GOP doesn't have the 50 votes needed to confirma Kavanaugh, as there are two undecided GOP Senators: Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). 

A senior source involved in the process told me fairly late last night:

  • "We’re going into this vote and we don’t have 50 right now."
  • "There’s been a lot of work that was done today, by members wading through this material. I don’t want to put my thumb on the scale. Things keep moving — so much, it feels like we’re walking on quicksand. So I don’t even want to say confidence or not confidence."

"Sometimes you just have to vote," the source added. "But what if ... something f—g happens in the morning? This whole process has just been ... so much drama, so many balls coming out at the last minute." -Axios

On Friday morning, CNN reported that a third GOP holdout, Susan Collins of Maine, would vote "yes" during the procedural vote, while CNN's Manu Raju reports that Republicans believe they will have enough Senators by the 10:30 vote.  

That still leaves "flip-flop Flake" and Murkowski...