JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Senate pushed Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination past a key procedural hurdle Friday, and prospects seemed to improve that the conservative jurist was headed toward the nation's highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago.
Senators voted 51-49 to limit debate. A final showdown vote is expected Saturday.
The nomination has stirred controversy. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of trying to rape her at an alcohol-infused high school gathering in 1982, when both were teenagers. Two other women emerged and accused him of other incidents of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh denied all the allegations.
Ahead of the final vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, University of North Florida students studying politics told News4Jax on Friday that the controversy has been a topic of conversation in classrooms, especially during political science classes.
"It's been brought up in class," said UNF student Alyssabeth Baker, who's majoring in political science. "One of my classes ... kind of talked about it for most of the time, instead of notes that day. It was definitely a heated topic. Seems like most people did not support Kavanaugh."
Other political science students said they believe Kavanaugh will get the needed votes for confirmation.
"I feel it's the right decision in the sense that if our Congress, as well as lobbyists and other factors of the branches of government, are able to put him in and it's the best move, then it's the best move," said Andrews Willis, a political science major at UNF.
Weston Funcheon, who's also a political science major, was out Friday rallying students to register to vote. He said he doesn’t understand why the FBI even reopened its investigation of Kavanaugh when another person could have been nominated to the Supreme Court.
"There are so many other candidates for the Supreme Court (who) don't have these allegations. Why wouldn't we just move on to someone who doesn't have that?" Funcheon said. " We don't owe this man anything just because he was offered. There are plenty of other well-qualified judges that would be excellent as a Supreme Court justice but don’t have this allegation hanging over their heads."
Each of the students who News4Jax spoke with had their own opinion. Despite whether they believe Kavanaugh or Ford, they all said there is not enough evidence to support Ford’s claims.
Students said they will be closely watching the activity on the Senate floor this weekend.