- President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.
- The Senate, tasked with the confirmation process, is split at 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
- Republicans will need a minimum of 50 votes, because Vice President Mike Pence can cast a tie-breaker.
- But each party is looking to lock down all of their members as quickly as possible.
When President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, it immediately created a horse race for Republicans to lock down at least 50 votes in his favour. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are looking to block the nominee.
Because of the split nature of the Senate, in which Republicans control 51 seats and Democrats have 49 (including two independents who caucus with Democrats), the confirmation process will come down to the wire. Republicans need a minimum of 50 votes, creating a scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence could cast the deciding vote as the tie-breaker.
Most senators are reliable to toe the party line as to how they vote for Kavanaugh. But the vote count will likely be closer than ever, because of a mix of two moderate Republican in Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, along with a handful of Democrats facing tough reelection bids this November in traditionally red states.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s series confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh began on Tuesday, September 4, when political infighting enveloped much of the panel. But the committee’s chairman, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, vowed to continue moving forward with the process.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation appeared to be on the ropes when a woman came forward accusing him of sexually assaulting her when they were both teenagers in the early 1980s.
The Judiciary Committee has scheduled an additional hearing with Kavanaugh slated for Monday, September 24. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh, has declined to testify until the FBI has investigated the matter.
This graphic serves as an ongoing whip count of who is leaning which way and whose final vote is still up in the air. It will be updated accordingly.
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