U.S. Senators voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination on Friday by holding a cloture vote, clearing the way for a final vote during the weekend.
The vote to advance the nomination was 51-49 in favor, which was split largely along party lines. (Lisa Murkowski, a Republican senator from Alaska voted against advancing Kavanaugh, while Democrat Joe Machin of West Virginia voted to advance him.) Arkansas Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman, both Republicans, voted to advance Kavanaugh.
Cloture ends debate on any subject being discussion before the Senate and indicates that a final vote is ready to be taken. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture on Wednesday, which put a deadline on further discussion of Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The final vote will determine whether Kavanaugh will become the next associate Supreme Court justice, a position vacated by Anthony Kennedy.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the Supreme Court nomination process begins after a justice resigns/retires/dies, and the President selects an individual and sends the nomination to the Senate. The President is responsible for nominating federal judges, including Supreme Court justices.
Once the Senate receives the nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee evaluates the candidate and is empowered to hold hearings. After the candidate clears the Judiciary Committee, the candidate must be confirmed by the main Senate body. In order to be confirmed, a federal judicial candidate needs a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate.
The Heritage Foundation reports that only four Supreme Court candidates have been rejected since 1930, while 59 candidates have been confirmed.