US President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court appeared all but certain to win approval from the Senate after two key lawmakers endorsed him on Friday.
Senator Susan Collins — a maverick member of Trump’s Republican party — and her Democrat counterpart Joe Manchin said allegations that Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted a fellow teenager nearly four decades ago were unproven.
“I do not believe these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court,” Collins told lawmakers in a speech from the floor of the chamber.
“The presumption of innocence and fairness do bear on my thinking and I cannot abandon them,” she added, calling Kavanaugh “an exemplary public servant.”
Manchin, who is battling to retain his seat at upcoming midterm polls in a state that voted heavily for Trump in the presidential election, said he had promised constituents to cast his vote “based on the facts before me”.
“Based on all the information I have available to me … I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him,” Manchin said in a statement.
The pair were the last senators to declare their intentions ahead of a final vote which is now expected to take place on Saturday afternoon.