The Senate has voted to end debate on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, moving the chamber to a final vote Saturday evening.

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The vote to invoke cloture was 51-49.

Fox News reports Kavanaugh’s nomination was embroiled in a controversy that gripped the nation after multiple women made sexual assault allegations originating from his time in high school and college. The most prominent allegation was from California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who said that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a high school party. That allegation resulted in a high-stakes Senate Judiciary hearing last week where both Ford and Kavanaugh testified.

Louisiana Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy voted to end the debate and move to a vote.

 

The nation has been watching four undecided senators: Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as well as West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Collins, Flake and Manchin all voted "yes" on cloture, with Murkowski voting "no."

With a 51-49 majority in the Senate, Republicans can afford no more than one defection from their ranks if all Democrats vote together. Collins was expected to announce her decision in a speech on the Senate floor at 3 p.m. Friday.

Dozens of protesters have swarmed around the capital as this debate has been flaring. Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., demanded the limited FBI investigation last week after being cornered in an elevator by screaming protesters moments before a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that the vote was "a pivotal day for us here in the Senate."

"The ideals of justice that have served our nation for so long are on display," he said, calling the last two weeks a "disgraceful spectacle."