The Republicans appear to have the votes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and the Senate's up-or-down vote will take place this afternoon. With Indiana's Joe Donnelly and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp having announced that they are definite "no" votes, Manchin remains the sole Democrat who might help to save Kavanaugh's nomination. But Collins also spent much of her remarks discussing issues other than the allegations made by three women, including the nominee's views on the use of the precedent set forth by past Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh vehemently denied all the claims.
The bitterly divided Senate voted 51-49 to end the debate on nomination of Kavanaugh, 53, who has been nominated by Trump on the nine-member bench of the Supreme Court.
Seven UK law professors signed a letter saying the Senate should not confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Meanwhile, the US Capitol Police arrested 302 people for protesting in the Senate office buildings against Kavanaugh's confirmation.
And Trump told Kansas rallygoers that he will hold a ceremonial swearing-in for Kavanaugh at the White House Monday evening.
They protested after an Federal Bureau of Investigation report which Republicans say exonerates him of sexual assault claims, with Democrats complaining it is too limited.
Trump has made appointing conservative judges a major plank of his presidency, and a year ago his nominee Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate.
Senator Susan Collins - a maverick member of Trump's Republican party - and her Democrat counterpart Joe Manchin said allegations that Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted a fellow teenager almost four decades ago were unproven. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks towards to the Senate chamber to listen to Sen.
"We would have to investigate any credible allegations of perjury and other things that haven't been properly looked into before", he said. She said on the Senate floor Friday evening that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable".
The final vote was interrupted several times by protesters as senators sat silent at their desks for the formal roll call vote.
Collins is up for reelection in 2020, and while no Democrat has officially challenged the longtime senator yet, whoever does will have lots of money to play with.
But he said he believes Kavanaugh will "determine cases based on the legal findings before him". "It will not change the outcome of the vote" Murkowski said on the Senate floor on Friday night.
In outlining her argument, Collins argued that while she believes that Christine Blasey Ford, who testified last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s, "is a survivor of a sexual assault", she does not believe that the allegation was corroborated.
Collins noted that the Supreme Court confirmation process of Kavanaugh is akin to a "gutter-level political campaign" and a "dysfunctional circus" when it should be a "solemn occasion".