Thousands of protesters have rallied in Washington ahead of a final vote that will determine the legal fate of the US for decades. Brett Kavanaugh has defended his credentials, saying he "might have been too emotional."
Thousands of protesters have descended on Capitol Hill in Washington to fight the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, the evening before the Senate was due to hold a procedural vote on his nomination, ahead of a final vote on Saturday.
Earlier Thursday, demonstrations also took place after an FBI report looking into allegations of sexual assault against the nominee was handed over to senators, with key potential Republican holdouts indicating approval of the investigation.
Kavanaugh's nomination by US President Donald Trump to the lifetime role on the highest court in the US has unleashed a confrontational and fiery debate on his qualifications and character after university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both in high school in the early 1980s.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh would shift the nine-member bench markedly to the right for decades to come. Opposition to his nomination has focused on questionable past behavior and his emotionally charged testimony before the Senate last week.
Hundreds arrested at protest
On Thursday, thousands of protesters marched on the Supreme Court and the Hart Senate Office Building bearing signs that said "Believe Survivors" and "Kava-Nope" while chanting against the candidate. Police arrested around 300 people at the protests, including actors Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski.
Earlier, the FBI delivered the results of its investigation on the sexual assault allegations to US senators. While some Democrats have described the probe as being insufficient to calm concerns about Kavanaugh's past, a few key Republicans have suggested they approve of the probe's thoroughness.
With a razor thin 51-49 margin, Trump needs the vote of every Republican senator to push through his nominee.
A procedural vote on Kavanaugh's nomination is scheduled for Friday at 10:30 a.m. (1430 UTC). If it passes, the Senate expects to vote on his final confirmation on Saturday.
Kavanaugh, meanwhile, has defended his judicial credentials in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.
"I might have been too emotional at times," he wrote of his Senate testimony last week. Kavanaugh had been criticized, including by legal experts, for his temperament during the hearing.
"I was there as a son, husband and dad," he wrote. "Going forward, you can count on me … to be hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good."
The same day, The Washington Post published an editorial calling on the Senate not to confirm Kavanaugh. "He poisoned any sense that he could serve as an impartial judge," the newspaper's editorial board said of his Senate testimony.
It is the first time the paper has opposed a Supreme Court nominee since 1987.
cmb/cmk (Reuters, AP, AFP)