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Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake says he will vote for Brett Kavanaugh

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who had stayed quiet all week which way he was leaning, said Friday he would vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court.

Flake’s office released a statement just before the vote.

After hearing more than 30 hours of testimony from Judge Kavanaugh earlier this month, I was prepared to support his nomination based on his view of the law and his record as a judge. In fact, I commented at the time that had he been nominated in another era, he would have likely received 90+ votes.

“When Dr. Ford’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh surfaced two weeks ago, I insisted that she be allowed to testify before the committee moved to a vote. Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh.

“I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty.

“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law. While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well.

“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Flake’s “yes” likely ensures that the nomination will advance to the full Senate from the Judiciary Committee.

The panel met to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation the day after hours of testimony from the judge and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were high school.

As Flake, a Republican, made his way to an elevator, he was confronted by two angry, tearful women, who confronted him with stories of their assaults.

They said Kavanaugh reaching the Supreme Court despite Thursday’s testimony was the same as telling them what happened to them didn’t matter.

Flake, one of 21 on the panel, remained quiet while the women shouted and cried.

He had been mum all week as to which way he would vote. Flake had said repeatedly he would only make up his mind after hearing both sides’ testimony.

After hearing the daylong proceedings, Flake said Ford “was compelling, but she’s lacking corroboration from those who were there.”

The American Bar Association urged the Judiciary committee and the full Senate to hold off the vote until the FBI had investigated the assault claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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