Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced late Friday that she will be voting “present” on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court so Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana can skip the vote to attend his daughter’s wedding.
Murkowski revealed earlier in the day while speaking on the Senate floor that she will not be supporting the confirmation.
“I believe that Judge Kavanaugh is a good man. He’s a good man,” Murkowski said. “He’s clearly a learned judge. But in my conscience, because that’s how I have to vote — end of the day, is with my conscience — I could not conclude that he is the right person for the court at this time.”
Daines, a supporter of Kavanaugh, is scheduled to be walking his daughter down the aisle during the time of the vote tally. The Senate is expected to vote to confirm Kavanaugh with a slim margin, so each Republican “yea” vote is needed to advance the confirmation.
Daines reported that fellow Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is offering his personal plane on standby in case he is promptly needed in Washington, D.C., to cast his vote. However, in an act of civility, Murkowski agreed to “pair” with Daines and vote “present” rather than “nay.”
Pairing is an informal and voluntary agreement between two lawmakers in which one member involved in the pair agrees to nullify the outcome of the other’s absence by essentially refraining from casting his or her own opposing vote. (RELATED: Lindsey Graham Has A Back-Up Plan For Kavanaugh Nomination)
“I do this because a friend, a colleague of ours is in Montana this evening and … he’s going to be walking his daughter down the aisle and he won’t be present to vote,” Murkowski said, according to The Hill. “I have extended this as a courtesy to my friend. It will not change the outcome of the vote.”
This will be the first pair done in the Senate in 15 years, according to Washington insider Jamie Dupree. The last live pair occurred in October 2003 between former Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign.
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