Senator Susan Collins will vote yes on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
The Maine Republican announced her decision Friday in Senate speech that was disrupted by protesters before it even began and met with applause when it ended. Her support all but ensures Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Collins says she does not believe the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh rise to a level to "fairly prevent" him from serving on the court. She says she adheres to a presumption of innocence, and does not believe they reached a threshold of certainty.
Collins has never opposed a Supreme Court nominee, confirming the past five justices from Republican and Democratic presidents.
Kavanaugh cleared a key procedural vote to advance his nomination earlier Friday. A final confirmation vote is expected Saturday.
A sharply partisan battle over Kavanaugh became an intense political drama when university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school in Maryland in 1982.
Two other women also made accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh in the 1980s. He angrily denied the accusations.