Murkowski: Kavanaugh ‘good man’ but maybe ‘not the right man for the court’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters Friday that she believes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is a “good man” but questioned if he was the right person for the Supreme Court.

“[I] took the very, very difficult vote that I did. I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man. I believe he is a good man, it just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time,” Murkowski told reporters.

{mosads}Her comments come shortly after the Senate voted 51-49 to end debate on Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, setting up a final vote to confirm him on Saturday. Murkowski did not specifically say she would vote against confirming Kavanaugh, but Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 3 GOP senator, said he does not expect her to flip her vote.

Murkowski was the only GOP senator to vote against ending debate. She told reporters that she didn’t make her decision until she walked onto the Senate floor for the vote, and that she expects to explain her thinking more fulsomely during a Senate floor speech Friday.

Murkowski added that she has been “wrestling” with the decision, which she called the “most difficult” she’s made during a political career replete with maverick moments.

Murkowski said she grappled with whether the vote on Kavanaugh was about his qualifications or if it had become “bigger than the nominee.”

“I believe we are dealing with issues right now that are bigger than a nominee and how we ensure that our institutions, not only the legislative branch but our judicial branch, continue to be respected. This is what I’ve been wrestling with,” Murkowski said.

She added that the country’s institutions needed to be “viewed as fair.”

“But if people who are victims, people who feel that they’re is no fairness in our system of government, particularly within our courts, we’ve gone down a path that is not good and right for this country,” she said.

The Friday morning vote came a day after senators began reviewing a 46-page supplemental FBI report on sexual assault allegations that threw Kavanaugh’s nomination into chaos and rekindled a national debate on sexual assault.

Republicans said the report did not offer any evidence corroborating the accusations of sexual misconduct from Christine Blasey Ford or Deborah Ramirez, who have publicly accused Kavanaugh of misconduct. Democrats countered that the investigation was too limited and left out key witnesses who supported Ford’s account.

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in the early 1980s when they were both in high school. Ramirez said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were both college students at Yale University. Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing.

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