The Latest: Senate panel sets 1:30 p.m. vote on Kavanaugh

El Paso News
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Protesters gather in front of the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says he sexually assaulted her. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

Several Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have walked out of a hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Kamala Harris of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island left after the GOP chairman set a vote on the nomination for 1:30 p.m. Friday.

That was approved by a committee vote. Democrats say Republicans are rushing the confirmation.

During that vote, Hirono yelled: “”I strongly object! What a railroad job! No, no, NO.”

___

10 a.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote at 1:30 p.m. on whether to recommend Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

The chairman, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, announced the vote as the committee began its meeting.

Kavanaugh has just picked up a key vote of support from a committee Republican, Arizona’s Jeff Flake.

Republicans have slim 11-10 majority on the committee. With Flake’s support, Kavanaugh’s nomination is expected to clear the committee and go to the full Senate.

The Senate could begin taking procedural votes over the weekend ahead of a final confirmation vote early next week.

___

9:55 a.m.

Emotions in the Capitol are running high over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Soon after Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced he’d vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, he was cornered by two women as he got into an elevator to head to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Through tears, the women implored him to change his mind about his Kavanaugh vote.

The women were seen in TV footage blocking the Arizona senator from closing the elevator door. One woman begged Flake to look him in the eye. She said: “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me.”

Another woman said Flake was allowing someone who “violated someone” to serve on the Supreme Court. Both women cried as they spoke to him.

Eventually a member of Flake’s staff said they needed to go and the doors closed. A committee confirmation vote is set for 1:30 p.m.

Kavanaugh has denied that he sexually assaulted a woman when they were teenagers. The committee on Thursday heard emotional and sometimes combative testimony from both Kavanaugh and his accuser.

___

9:40 a.m.

It’ll be a “yes” vote on Brett Kavanaugh from one of the most closely watched Republican senators who’s determining the fate of the Supreme Court nominee.

The announcement from Arizona’s Jeff Flake that he’ll vote to confirm Kavanaugh virtually ensures that the nomination will advance to the full Senate from the Judiciary Committee.

The committee is expected to vote Friday – and if the nomination advances to the full Senate, then senators could begin voting as early as Saturday.

Flake says he wishes he could express the confidence in Kavanaugh that some of his other GOP colleagues have. But Flakes says in a statement he still has “much doubt” after the committee’s explosive hearing Thursday.

Kavanaugh has denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Flake says that without evidence to corroborate Ford’s story, he believes “our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence.”

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