Key swing vote Sen. Lisa Murkowski didn't decide how to vote on Kavanaugh until she walked onto the Senate floor, says 'he's not the right man for the court at this time'

lisa murkowski

  • Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she didn’t decide to vote against advancing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until she reached the Senate chambers on Friday.
  • Murkowski broke with her party as the only of four key swing votes to vote no on advancing his nomination to the confirmation vote.
  • Kavanaugh’s final confirmation vote is set for Saturday afternoon.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters on Friday that she didn’t decide to vote against advancing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation until she reached the Senate chambers that morning.

Murkowski broke with her party as the only one of four key swing votes who voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which she said was an effort to uphold the ideal of a fair confirmation process for justices.

„I have been wrestling to really try to know what is fair and what is right,“ Murkowski said. „And the truth is that none of this has been fair.“

The Alaskan senator further specified that the vote wasn’t a personal rebuke of the embattled Kavanaugh, who she said she believes is a „good man.“

However, Murkowski continued: „In my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.“

Murkowski called the decision, which she quietly announced in the chamber after other swing votes had announced their votes in favor, „the most difficult evaluation of a decision that I’ve ever had to make.“

„I value and respect where my colleagues have come down from and their support for the judge,“ Murkowski said. „I also think that we’re at a place where we need to be thinking again about the credibility of the institutions.“

Friday’s vote concerned issues that „are bigger than a nominee“ and are necessary for fully functioning legislative and judicial branches, Murkowski said. The moderate Republican previously spoke out in support of an additional background check the FBI concluded a day earlier on sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

„If people who are victims, people who feel that they’re is no fairness in our system of government, particularly within our courts, we’ve gone down a path that is not good and right for this country,“ she said.

Conservative commentators hit back against Murkowski’s vote, with Fox News host Laura Ingraham saying the „disgraceful“ decision „abandoned all principles of due process and fairness.“

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote in favor of advancing the nomination. Sen. Jeff Flake, another conservative swing vote, said Friday that he would ultimately vote yes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Republican Sen. Susan Collins is expected to announce her vote Friday afternoon.

The victory in favor of cloture limits further debate and Democrats‘ ability to filibuster the final vote.

With a 51-49 hold on the Senate, Republicans can only afford to lose one vote in the final confirmation tally that’s set for Saturday afternoon.

SEE ALSO: Senate advances embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to a final vote

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