Murkowski reveals why bucked GOP in key Kavanaugh vote

Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski offered an extended and emotional explanation Friday for why she chose to buck her party and vote against ending debate on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I did not come to a decision on this until walking onto the floor this morning. I have been wrestling to really try to know what is fair and what is right, and the truth is, that none of this has been fair,” she told reporters outside the Senate chamber.

“This hasn’t been fair to the judge, but I also recognize that we need to have institutions that are viewed as fair and if people who are victims, people who feel that there is no fairness in our system of government, particularly in our courts, then you’ve gone down a path that is not good and right for this country,” she continued.

The more she thought about it, she explained, the more convinced she became that her decision needed to be based on more than whether or not President Trump’s nominee was fit for the job.

“And so I have been wrestling with whether or not this was about qualifications of a good man or is this bigger than the nomination,” she said.

“And I believe we’re dealing with issues right now that are bigger than the nominee and how we ensure fairness and how our legislative and judicial branch can continue to be respected. This is what I have been wrestling with, and so I made the — took the very difficult vote that I did,” Murkowski said shortly after the Senate voted 51-49 to end debate and set up a final vote on Kavanaugh on Saturday.

She then praised Kavanaugh, who had been charged with sexual misconduct by three women, including the lead accuser, Christina Blasey Ford, who said he sexually assaulted her when they were both high school students 36 years ago.

“I believe Brett Kavanaugh’s a good man. It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time. So I have taken my vote here this morning, I’m going to go back to my office and write a floor statement that is more fulsome,” she said.

She called her decision to cast the lone GOP vote against the nominee the toughest of her career.

“This has truly been the most difficult evaluation of a decision that I have ever had to make, and I’ve made some interesting ones in my career,” she said.

“But I value and respect where my colleagues have come down from in their support for the judge, and I think we’re at a place where we need to begin thinking about the credibility and integrity of our institutions.”