These seven Republican and Democratic senators could sink Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation

A handful of senators from both major parties will play a critical role in determining whether Brett Kavanaugh joins the Supreme Court following a sexual assault accusation against the federal appellate judge.

Kavanaugh's confirmation to the highest U.S. court — which seemed like a done deal in the GOP-controlled Senate only days ago — now appears more in doubt following the allegation. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor in California, says Kavanaugh tried to "attack [her] and remove [her] clothing" during a party when both of them were high school students in Maryland decades ago. Kavanaugh, in a new statement Monday, called the allegation "completely false."

Republicans enter this week intent on moving forward with a vote Thursday to advance Kavanaugh's confirmation through the Senate Judiciary Committee and on to the full chamber despite the serious allegation. Democrats and even some Republicans now want to delay the vote until Ford can publicly tell her story. She is willing to testify before Congress, her lawyer said Monday.

All eyes now turn to a few key lawmakers who will help to determine whether the appointee of President Donald Trump will take his lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. Already, several Republicans who hold swing votes have showed qualms about pushing forward with the judge's confirmation.

Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican and Judiciary Committee member, and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., both told news outlets that the panel should delay a vote until it hears more from Ford. The two senators will retire in January.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who has broken with her party on some key votes, also said the committee "might have to consider" waiting to vote, according to CNN.

Republicans have an 11-10 advantage in the committee, so Flake's opposition on its own could derail Kavanaugh. In a statement Monday, all 10 Judiciary Committee Democrats urged their Republican counterparts to postpone Thursday's planned vote. The GOP holds a 51-49 majority in the Senate, meaning two Republican votes against Kavanaugh would sink his confirmation in the full chamber if the entire Democratic caucus votes against the judge.

Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, could determine Kavanaugh's fate by themselves. The two women, who generally support abortion rights, were considered swing votes even before Ford's accusation surfaced. They in part mulled whether the judge would consider voting to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion rights nationwide.

In a statement Monday, Collins said Ford and Kavanaugh "should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee."

Aside from those Republicans, scrutiny will also focus on Democrats who face difficult re-election bids in November in states Trump carried easily in 2016. Three of those senators — Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana — joined the GOP last year in confirming Trump's first Supreme Court choice, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Others including Sen. Doug Jones, who represents conservative Alabama, and Sen. Claire McCaskill, who runs this year in red Missouri, also appeared to face a tough choice about whether to support Kavanaugh. But the assault accusation against the judge makes it more likely that Democrats will oppose him.

After Ford publicly accused Kavanaugh on Sunday, Jones tweeted that "it is more important than ever to hit the pause button on Kavanaugh's confirmation vote until we can fully investigate these serious and disturbing allegations."

Polls have shown an American public about evenly divided over whether the Senate should confirm Kavanaugh. Thirty-nine percent of Americans believe the chamber should vote in favor of him, versus 39 percent who say the Senate should not, according to a CNN/SSRS poll taken earlier this month. A separate Fox news survey in August found 45 percent of registered voters think Kavanaugh should be confirmed, while 46 percent think he should not.

Even before Kavanaugh was accused of assault, Democrats overwhelmingly opposed him taking a seat on the top U.S. court. Only 15 percent of those who identified as Democrats in the CNN/SSRS survey said he should be confirmed.

Democratic senators already faced pressure from their political base to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation. Ford's accusation against him should only solidify the opposition.

Ford is willing to testify about the alleged assault before the Senate, according to her lawyer.

WATCH: CNBC article put into record at Kavanaugh hearing


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