Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh passed a key step to becoming the ninth justice on the high court with the Senate voting 51-49 on Friday to end debate on his nomination.
And while the voting broke mostly along party lines, there were defections from both parties. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the lone Democrat to vote “yes” to cut off debate, while one of the usual suspects on the right, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, sided with Democrats.
A development that sheds new light on an earlier photo of Murkowski huddling with Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., the architect of the Kavanaugh hitjob, in the basement of the Capitol.
throwback to this photo – was feinstein able to flip murkowski’s vote? https://t.co/IscNyn8M0a
— kelly cohen (@politiCOHEN_) October 5, 2018
In speaking with reporters after the vote, Murkowski said that she “did not come to a decision on this until walking into the floor this morning.”
MURKOWSKI says she didn’t make up her mind until walking into the vote. “None of this has been fair.” pic.twitter.com/Hy8UdeCyQx
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) October 5, 2018
The liberal Republican said it was a difficult decision, according to Washington Post reporter Elise Viebeck, which is surprising given how often she betrays her party. When it was time for her to voice her vote, it was widely reported as noticeably ‘soft’:
Watched Murkowski entire time. Her demeanor changed a bit after Collins & Flake voted aye – her vote no longer the deciding vote. She looked down for a while, closed her eyes, blinked a bunch, then looked up with resolve. When her name was called she stood and said ‘no’ softly.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) October 5, 2018
“I have been wrestling with whether or not this was about the qualifications of a good man or is this bigger than the nominee,” she told reporters. “And I believe we’re dealing with issues right now that are bigger than a nominee.”
Full quote from Murkowski to a gaggle this hour: pic.twitter.com/tT3EeBWzqP
— Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck) October 5, 2018
Even more troubling than Friday’s vote, Murkowski gave every indication that she may not vote for Kavanuagh when the nomination goes to the floor of the Senate for an up or down vote, which is expected to happen Saturday.
“I took the very very difficult vote that I did. I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man, I believe that he is a good man, it just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time,” she said.
The key quote is this: “I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man. I believe he is a good man. It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”
— Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck) October 5, 2018
With a 51-49 majority, the GOP can weather one defection, which would put the resulting tiebreaker in the hands of Vice President Mike Pence, who would vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
As for the bigger issue, we can only assume that Murkowski is speaking about the #MeToo movement, which has been weaponized by Democrats. While the 11th hour ambush of Kavanaugh was seen for what it was, an attempt at character assassination, by rational Americans, it appears Murkowski may have been duped into going along with the opposition party.
Perhaps, the most interesting effect of Murkowski’s sell out was a tweet from Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.
“I like Alaska…a lot. Maybe it’s time to run for Senate after all.
@lisamurkowski has abandoned all principles of due process and fairness. Disgraceful,” she tweeted.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) October 5, 2018
The only problem is, Murkowski isn’t up for reelection for another four years, in 2022.
Here’s a sampling of other notable responses to the Alaska senator’s vote today:
.@lisamurkowski: you won’t see conservatives screaming, crying or protesting you in the streets, but you should know that today you failed.
You affirmed the stereotype of weak, emotional women.
You chose feelings over rational thoughts and in turn, condemned an innocent man.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) October 5, 2018
The Murkowski explanation for her vote is kind of ridiculous. I get being disgusted with the circus we have been subjected to over the last 2 months. Does she think that defeating Kavanaugh will make future nominations MORE or LESS of a circus?
The answer is definitely MORE.
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) October 5, 2018
.@lisamurkowski, a “no” vote on someone who faced completely unsubstantiated/uncorroborated allegations from 3 decades ago, where the FBI’s additional investigation found zero corroboration, sets a very dangerous precedent. It also empowers the worst in agenda-driven politicians.
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) October 5, 2018
I’m confused/concerned that Murkowski voted no on cloture & not just the final vote. If this was all under control by McConnell, why wouldn’t she at least vote yes on cloture so as to give Susan Collins a semblance of cover?
If this was all preordained, how does this make sense?
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) October 5, 2018
Murkowski is rewarding dems for what they did to Kavanaugh, Ford, Court Senate. Sanctioning future death of nominations by unsubstantiated denied allegations, FBI checks of HS, w/holding of info/evasion of process for political purposes. Disgusting @iwv https://t.co/hMraMP760f
— Heather R. Higgins (@TheHRH) October 5, 2018
Murkowski wasn’t pressured into voting no. She’s voting no because she’s a Democrat. https://t.co/J6SYQlzWXo
— Richard Armande Mills (RAM) (@RAMRANTS) October 5, 2018
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