The smart money now says Brett Kavanaugh will be the next Supreme Court justice. That became evident Friday afternoon when the Democrats' last big hope, Republican Susan Collins, announced that she would vote yes on confirmation, reports the Washington Post. After her announcement, Democrat Joe Manchin, another swing vote, said he would do the same. The math now looks hopeless for Democrats ahead of Saturday's expected vote, even with Republican Susan Collins voting against Kavanaugh. All this comes after Friday morning's decision to end debate and move toward a final vote. Details and developments:
- The math: Kavanaugh supporters won Friday's procedural vote by a narrow 51-49 margin, and Democrats would need to flip two of those yes votes into no's in order to stop the nomination. A tie wouldn't cut it for Democrats because VP Mike Pence is the tie-breaker. That put the focus on the swing votes of Collins, Murkowski, and Jeff Flake, all Republicans, along with Democrat Manchin.
- Flake: The Arizona Republican voted yes on Friday's procedural matter, and he says he plans to vote in favor of Kavanaugh on Saturday "unless something big changed," reports Politico. But, he added, "I don't see what would."
- Collins: She gave a 45-minute speech from the Senate floor in which she talked about the Kavanaugh allegations and the confirmation process. "I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court," Collins said, per Politico. "I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh."