Republican Sen Susan Collins backs Kavanaugh for top US court

A US senator whose vote will be crucial to deciding Brett Kavanaugh’s bid for a Supreme Court seat said on Friday she will support the nominee, all but ensuring he will sit on the highest US court despite accusations of sexual misconduct against him.

“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” said Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine. “The allegations fail to meet the ‘more likely than not’ standard,” she said.

A final confirmation vote could come as soon as Saturday.

Collins’ decision leaves opponents of Kavanaugh hoping for an unlikely scenario of at least two other senators who had previously backed him to change their minds and declare they will vote against him.

A sharply partisan battle over Kavanaugh became an intense political drama when university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school in Maryland in 1982.

Two other women also made accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh in the 1980s. He angrily denied the accusations.

Earlier on Friday, Senate lawmakers backed Kavanaugh by 51 to 49 in a procedural vote that moved the Republican-controlled Senate toward a definitive decision.

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