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Senators appear ready to send Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. So, what happens next?

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Saul Loeb/Pool Image via AP) Saul Loeb AP

The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 Friday in favor of Brett Kavanaugh in a procedural vote, setting up a final vote on Saturday to decide the Supreme Court nominee’s fate.

And with the announced support of Republican Sen. Susan Collins, from Maine, it’s increasingly likely that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

Here’s what you need to know about the process and what happens next.

What was the vote that happened Friday morning, and what does it mean?

The Senate voted Friday morning to allow for a final vote on Kavanaugh that will determine whether he ascends to the highest court in the land. It also cut down on the time for debate about the nomination.

The 51-49 cloture vote sends the nomination process to the final last step.

“It ushers in a maximum of 30 hours of debate before the Senate must take a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination,” The Associated Press explained. “The vote came Friday morning as senators were still absorbing the results of a confidential FBI inquiry into allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, allegations that have torn apart the Senate and divided the nation.”

When is the final vote?

The final confirmation vote is expected to happen on Saturday, as reported by CNN. But as the outlet noted, that could change because Republican Sen. Steve Daines says he will be at his daughter’s wedding on the same day — even though he plans to make it back in time for the vote.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Jeff Flake and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin were seen as the three swing votes, CNN reported. Collins said Friday afternoon that she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Flake said on Friday that he will vote yes “unless something big changes.”

As noted by USA Today, Friday’s vote essentially stops Democrats from filibustering and delaying a vote on Kavanaugh.



“Republican leaders could be seen working hard even after the procedural vote ended to reverse the opposition of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska, the only GOP senator who voted against Kavanaugh in the Friday vote,” The Associated Press reported.

How many votes are needed for Kavanaugh to be confirmed?

The Senate could confirm Kavanaugh by a 51-49 majority, which would match the cloture vote taken Friday morning — or Vice President Mike Pence could cast the tie-breaking vote if the Senate is split 50-50. If all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, only two Republicans need to vote no to sink his chances.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sen. Susan Collins, from Maine, told protesters outside her office she would vote “yes” in a procedural vote to move Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for Supreme Court Justice forward on October 5. They responded by yelling “no.”

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