The Senate has voted 51 to 49 to close debate on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, paving the way for a senate confirmation vote on his nomination as early as Saturday.
That came after impassioned speeches from both sides, with Democrats saying he was unfit for the seat and Republicans saying he had been the subject of a hit job planned by Democrats from the outset.
One Republican (Lisa Murkowski) voted no, while one Democrat (Joe Manchin of West Virginia), voted yes.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it a disgraceful spectacle and characterized the various allegations of sexual misconduct as a "Keystone Cops" operation.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the Republicans had poisoned the well from the outset with a list of conservative candidates not in the public interest.
It is not clear whether those will remain the same in the final vote, so the outcome is still in doubt, though the odds were getting better for confirmation.
The vote can't happen until 30 hours after the cloture vote (which limits debate to those 30 more hours), so, Saturday afternoon at the earliest.
The campaign committee for President Donald Trump immediately in tandem with the Republican National Committee sent out an email seeking signatories to a petition aimed at Democrats.'[It]t’s time for the Senate to end the games, end the witch hunt, and end the excuses," they said. "We will send NON-STOP petitions to every Senate liberal’s office until this great judge is confirmed."
The e-mail initially incorrectly demanded: "THE SENATE MUST CONFIRM JUDGE KAVANAUGH TO THE U.S. SENATE NOW," but a second e-mail was sent correctly identifying him as a nomineed for the Supreme Court.
If Kavanaugh is seated on the court, he will bring with him a skepticism about the Chevron doctrine that defers to regulatory agency expertise, which he has called a way for those regulators to legislate by proxy, and the view that a Democratic FCC's prior attempts to regulate ISPs as common carriers was out of bounds.
He has also written--in a dissent to the full court's refusal to reconsider an ISP challenge to those prior FCC rules--that broadband providers have a First Amendment right to control content. For the past dozen years, Kavanaugh has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that is the principal court of jurisdiction over challenges to FCC decisions.