Sen. Susan Collins, one of several considered to be key swing votes in the confirmation of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh, said on the Senate floor Friday she’ll be voting “yes” in Saturday’s vote.
The Maine Republican gave a lengthy speech before announcing her decision, saying she’d reached her position after weeks of reviewing Kavanaugh’s record, speaking with experts and contemplating the Senate’s role in the confirmation of Supreme Court justices.
Collins also slammed Democrats for their handling of the contentious and ugly process, declaring,"Today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign, than a solemn occasion," Collins began.
“Our Supreme Court confirmation process has been in steady decline for more than 30 years. One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom,” she added.
Collins also pointed out that those who know Kavanaugh best have testified “his judicial temperament…met the highest standards.”
Collins added that voting against Kavanaugh's confirmation based on unproven allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school would abandon the historical standard of innocent until proven guilty, saying that's not a precedent she's prepared to help set.
"We must remember that it is when passion is most enflamed, that is when fairness is most in jeopardy," she said, adding, "The claims should at least meet a threshold of more likely than not."
As to allegations that Kavanaugh helped run a gang rape ring in high school, Collins called such claims "outlandish," pointing to them as a reason that the American judicial system is built on facts and presumed innocence.
Sen. Jeff Flake, along with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, have both said they'll be voting in favor of Kavanaugh this weekend. Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has said she plans to vote "no."