U.S. senators are set to cast a procedural vote on Friday that could advance the life-long appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual misconduct to the country’s highest court.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader of President Donald Trump’s Republican Party, declared a cloture vote for Friday, meaning a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination could come as early as Saturday.
The question of Kavanaugh’s candidacy has roiled the country for weeks.
Psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford testified at a senate judiciary hearing in September that Kavanaugh had drunkenly attempted to rape her when they were both in high school.
Two other women have also come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh angrily and tearfully denied Ford’s charges at the hearing, accusing Democrats of an “orchestrated hit’’ on him fuelled by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons’’.
Former U.S. Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens and hundreds of U.S. law professors have since said the testimony showed that Kavanaugh lacked the “judicial temperament’’ to sit on the top court, and others have criticised him for demonstrating political bias.
An FBI report was subsequently requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee as a requirement to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Democrats have condemned the investigation as “incomplete’’ and “too limited’’ in scope neither Kavanaugh nor Ford were among those interviewed.
Republicans have a slim 51 to 49 majority in the senate, although Vice-President Mike Pence can break a tie, meaning the Republicans can only afford one defection.
Three Republican Senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have not yet indicated which way they would vote.