Despite being accused of sexual assault and misconduct by three women, Judge Brett Kavanaugh could still get a confirmation vote to the highest court in the United States.
Before they voted, however, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told the committee that he won't vote for Kavanaugh in the full Senate unless the FBI reopens its background check and investigates the sexual misconduct claims. Following an 11-10 vote along party lines, the committee asked the White House to reopen the investigation. On Friday evening, President Donald Trump approved an FBI probe that, as the Senate requested, "must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week."
In the final vote, it's likely all Democrats will vote along party lines, and because the GOP only has a 51-49 majority, Kavanaugh's fate could rest in the hands of Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Once again, it could be up to the two moderate Republican women to make a monumental decision.
Flake, another potential swing vote, lived up to his name and initially announced Friday morning that he would support Kavanaugh. Soon after, two sexual assault survivors confronted him over his decision in a Senate elevator, proving the power of direct action. "Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happens to me," one of the women said.
Both Collins and Murkowski said they support the Republican agreement to delay the vote for an FBI probe. Murowski told CNN that while she supports an investigation, “it has to be limited in time and scope.”
These senators aren’t strangers to going against their party: Collins and Murowski previously voted with the late Sen. John McCain to stop the Obamacare repeal.
Alaska's Indigenous peoples, which make up 20% of the state's population, had already been pressuring Murkowski to reject Kavanaugh out of concern for his positions on tribes' rights and healthcare. Both in Maine and in D.C., Collins has faced pressure from protesters and TV ads targeting her decision.
So, what can you do if you think he shouldn't be confirmed and Trump should pick someone else on his shortlist?
You might be tired of hearing this, but if you oppose Kavanaugh you should call your elected officials and let them know. Calling is the most effective way to put pressure on them — even more so than social media, email, or snail mail. Here's a quick guide on how to do it. Also remember to call only your senators. Unless you can provide a zip code, which proves you're one of their constituents, your call will not be tallied.
Groups are also organizing protests in D.C. and in some of the senators' home states, including Alaska, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, Indiana, and West Virginia. If you can't physically join a protest and you're able to afford it, you should consider donating to the candidates challenging the senators that support Kavanaugh.
This story was originally published on September 28, 2018. Additional reporting has been added.