Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's chaotic and controversial path to a confirmation vote in the Senate is nearing an end. After a seemingly-endless series of delays, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a floor vote for Saturday — and now, we know around what time the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh.
The final vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation will be between 3 and 5 p.m. EST on Saturday, according to a tweet Trump posted that same morning.
Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capital Hill in preparation for a 3-5 P.M. VOTE. It is a beautiful thing to see - and they are not paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs. Big day for America!
This will cap off a series of procedural votes that began more than a week ago when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination to the full floor.
Although it's never over until it's over, the Senate is expected to confirm Kavanaugh. The outcome of the vote was in question throughout most of the process, but with Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, two crucial holdouts who remained undecided for most of the process, expected to vote yes, Kavanaugh appears to have the votes needed to be confirmed.
Kavanaugh's confirmation was expected to be a slam dunk for Republicans, but it hit a major obstacle when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. This allegation was followed by a series of additional accusations of sexual misconduct from other women, all of which Kavanaugh has vehemently denied.
Although most Senate Republicans vociferously defended Kavanaugh, GOP leadership nevertheless delayed the previously-scheduled vote on Kavanaugh and invited Ford and Kavanaugh to testify about the allegation in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They did so the next week, and the committee voted to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination a day later. However, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake then demanded that the FBI conduct a limited investigation of Ford's allegation against Kavanaugh — thus delaying the full vote on his nomination again.
This final vote concerning Kavanaugh's confirmation comes after a cloture vote. A cloture vote is a method with which a bill or motion can be expedited by having senators follow a strict 30-hour window. Such a vote would need a simple majority of those present to vote for it to be legitimately invoked. The general idea behind a cloture vote — which McConnell invoked in the case of Kavanaugh — is to limit the possibility of a filibuster from opposing senators who may not want Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court.
With a filibuster, senators against the SCOTUS nominee would have been able to hold the Senate floor indefinitely. Throw a cloture vote in and there's no chance of it. The Pew Research Center describes the vote as a way to “push past a recalcitrant minority” while Brooking Institution’s Sarah Binder said it’s a “blunt tool for managing the Senate.” With controversy dogging Kavanaugh and protests against him on Capitol Hill, a cloture vote seems like the final move in getting senators to hand in their assessments.
Mehreen Kasana contributed to this report.