Bill Nelson will vote no on Kavanaugh nomination, Marco Rubio confirms he will vote yes

Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Getty Images

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said Friday he will vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 Friday afternoon to send the nomination to the full Senate for a vote.

Nelson, who is running for reelection against Gov. Rick Scott, made his opposition official on Friday morning after calling for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh last week and expressing displeasure that the two had not met in person.

“I will vote no on Judge Kavanaugh,” Nelson tweeted.

Scott has called on Nelson to meet with Kavanaugh but has not explicitly called on Nelson to vote in favor of confirmation. Multiple allegations of sexual assault have surfaced against Kavanaugh over the last 10 days after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Kavauangh of attempting to rape her at a high school party in 1982. Kavanaugh denies all the allegations against him.

In a lengthy and emotional confirmation hearing Thursday that was called after Ford’s allegations became public, Ford recalled chilling details of the alleged assault, saying that she “will never forget the laughter” from Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge as the assault took place. Kavanaugh offered an emotional defense of his own, breaking into tears while going over his schedule in detail during the summer of 1982.

Nelson, who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee, was not a part of Thursday’s hearing and hasn’t met face-to-face with Kavanaugh since Trump nominated him for the lifetime position in July.

Scott blasted Nelson’s decision, saying his vote belongs to Senate Democratic leadership.

“You were always going to do exactly what your party leaders told you to do,” Scott tweeted. “You decided no before you even knew who the nominee was. Your vote does not even belong to you — it belongs to Sen. [Chuck] Schumer.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio confirmed on Friday that he would vote for Kavanaugh after Thursday’s hearing.

“I will not vote against the nomination of someone who I am otherwise inclined to support and in the process add credence to charges which have already done permanent damage to his reputation, on the basis of allegations for which there is no independent corroboration and which are at odds with everything else we have heard about his character,” Rubio said in a statement.

Other Republicans who were thought to be on the fence like Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker have publicly said they plan to vote for Kavanaugh, though Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski are seen as the crucial swing votes, as Republicans only have room for one dissenter if Democrats are united against Kavanaugh.

Alex Daugherty, @alextdaugherty, 202-383-6049