Flake says he wishes he could express the confidence in Kavanaugh that some of his other GOP colleagues have. But Flake says in a statement he still has "much doubt" after the committee's explosive hearing Thursday.
Flake appears to be the swing vote on a committee with 11 GOP members and 10 Democrats. The vote will be the first one in a series to determine whether conservatives lock in a favorable court for a generation with a 5-4 majority.
If the nomination advances to the full Senate, then senators could begin voting as early as Saturday.
Flake's office sent the following statement:
After hearing more than 30 hours of testimony from Judge Kavanaugh earlier this month, I was prepared to support his nomination based on his view of the law and his record as a judge. In fact, I commented at the time that had he been nominated in another era, he would have likely received 90+ votes.
When Dr. Ford’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh surfaced two weeks ago, I insisted that she be allowed to testify before the committee moved to a vote. Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh. I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty.
What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law. While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well.