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Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee quashed a number of motions from Democrats on Thursday and set a date for the committee's vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The committee's vote on Kavanaugh, technically delayed a week, is now scheduled for Sept. 20, following a 11-10 vote along party lines. Kavanaugh's nomination could be considered by the full Senate as soon as late September. Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh before the start of the Supreme Court term in October.
Thursday's vote came over heated objections from Democratic lawmakers, who have criticized Kavanaugh's confirmation process and sought to impose delays. Republicans overruled motions from Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein, of California, Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, Richard Durbin, of Illinois, and Chris Coons, of Delaware, all by 11-10 votes. The motions from Democrats sought to subpoena documents and witnesses.
The committee's Republican chairman, Charles Grassley of Iowa, has kept the confirmation process moving along despite vociferous and at times theatrical opposition. He insisted Thursday that the vote would not be delayed further.
Democrats on the committee have accused Republicans of withholding documents related to Kavanaugh's work in the administration of President George W. Bush and as an attorney on Ken Starr's team investigating President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. Feinstein noted Thursday that less than a tenth of the documents related to Kavanaugh's political career have been released.
"This committee has embarked on a badly broken process," Blumenthal said.
Despite their objections, Democrats have failed to put together an effective strategy to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Kavanaugh is widely expected to be confirmed by the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate later in September, barring any surprises. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the chamber, and several Democrats running for re-election in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016 will face pressure to break from their party.
Trump named Kavanaugh to succeed retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the court's swing vote. The appointment of Kavanaugh, a conservative judge who Democrats expect to rule in favor of business interests and against traditionally progressive causes such as gun control and reproductive rights, could change the balance of the court for a generation.
Trump's first nominee to the high court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed by a vote of 54-45, with three Democrats voting in favor.