The Senate voted 51-49 to invoke cloture on Friday morning, meaning there is now a 30-hour window for senators to hold a final vote on U.S Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. While Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposed advancing Kavanaugh's nomination, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Viriginia joined with every other GOP lawmaker on Friday to advance it.
With the Senate set to hold a cloture vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court as early as Friday morning, heightened attention is on the widespread opposition—in some cases, from unexpected sources—that Kavanaugh has provoked with his judicial record, documented perjury, multiple allegations of sexual assault, and how he behaved at a Senate hearing last week to address these allegations.
Mass protests against Kavanaugh's confirmation have broken out on Capitol Hill and nationwide in recent days, led by progressive advocacy groups, sexual assault survivors, and Democratic lawmakers fiercely opposed to the nominee, but with a final vote apparently imminent, calls for rejecting Kavanaugh also have come from retired Justice John Paul Stevens, Kavanaugh's Yale drinking buddies, and a growing number of law professors across the country—including many from his alma mater.
Although there is some speculation that a cloture vote may be rescheduled following reports that Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana plans to attend his daughter's wedding on Saturday no matter the Senate schedule, if a cloture vote succeeds Friday morning, senators would be limited to a 30-hour window for remaining debate on Kavanaugh's confirmation and required by the chamber's rules to hold a final vote on Saturday. A few key lawmakers from both sides of the aisle still have not publicly said which way they'll vote.
Groups or individuals who have come out against Kavanaugh's confirmation include:
Retired Justice John Paul Stevens
During an onstage interview at an event in Boca Raton, Florida on Thursday, the retired Justice Stevens—a lifelong Republican—withdrew his support for Kavanaugh, reportedly telling the audience of retirees that "his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind." Stevens said the nominee's comments during the latest hearing demonstrated political bias that could impact Kavanaugh's decisions on the high court.
His Yale Drinking Buddies
Charles Ludington, Lynne Brookes, and Elizabeth Swisher, who described themselves as Kavanaugh's "college classmates and drinking buddies" while they all attended Yale in the mid-1980s, have separately spoken out to dispute the nominee's statements made under oath regarding his alcohol habits during those years. In an op-ed published Thursday, they collectively reasserted that he lied to senators and should not be confirmed.
The Washington Post Editorial Board
In an uncharacteristic move that the paper hasn't made since 1987, the Washington Post editorial board on Thursday came out against the nominee. The editorial declared: "Unfortunately—and unnecessarily; it didn't have to be this way—too many questions remain about his history for senators to responsibly vote 'yes.' At the same time, enough has been learned about his partisan instincts that we believe senators must vote 'no.'"
A Growing Number of Law Professors
As of publication, more than 2,400 law professors from across the country—including Yale, where Kavanaugh earned his bachelor's and law degrees—have added their signatures to a letter opposing his confirmation. During last week's hearing, the letter states, "Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land."
Activists, Sexual Assault Survivors, and the American Public
Critics and sexual assault survivors have traveled from across the country to Washington, D.C. to confront senators in their Capitol Building offices and inside the Hart Senate Building. Thousands of protesters descended on the Capitol on Thursday, which led to mass arrests as the demonstrators demanded that lawmakers "believe survivors."
Incredible scene on Capital Hill right now, where thousands of anti-Kavanaugh protesters have taken over the Hart Senate Office Building. pic.twitter.com/1qUk0cjkux
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) October 4, 2018
The National Council of Churches
The council, which Vox described as "a historically influential Christian umbrella group," published a statement on Wednesday that read in part, "Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation." The group also called for an "unhindered investigation into allegations of sexual assault," amid frustration over the limited FBI probe that has since concluded.
Human Rights Watch
In their first-ever decision to oppose a Supreme Court nominee, the group on Friday published a letter to senators outlining concerns about the sexual assault allegations, how Kavanaugh "sought to dismiss the concerns out of hand" when questioned by senators, and the fact that he "made several apparently false statements about material matters" while speaking to lawmakers under oath.
American Civil Liberties Union
Citing "extraordinary circumstances," the ACLU also broke with its official policy and called on the Senate to reject Kavanaugh. "The ACLU does not oppose Judge Kavanaugh based on predictions about how he would vote as a Justice," the statement explained. "We oppose him in light of the credible allegations of sexual assault against him."