When President Donald Trump earlier this year nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, it immediately created a horse race for Senate Republicans to lock down at least 50 votes in his favor. 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 is likely to come down to the wire. Republicans need a minimum of 50 votes to confirm Kavanaugh; in that scenario, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tiebreaking vote.
Most senators are reliable to toe the party line in voting for Kavanaugh. But the vote count is likely to be closer than ever because of two moderate Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — and 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 September 4, when political infighting enveloped much of the panel. But the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, vowed to continue moving forward with the process.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation appeared to be on the ropes when Christine Blasey Ford came forward earlier this month accusing him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in the early 1980s. The Judiciary Committee heard additional testimony on Thursday from Kavanaugh and Ford.
This graphic is 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.