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Protesters Descend On D.C., Urging Lawmakers To Vote Against Kavanaugh


Judge Brett Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court tomorrow now that two previously undecided senators say they will vote yes. Maine Republican Susan Collins and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin announced their support this afternoon. People have been gathering in Washington and other cities to protest Kavanaugh's nomination. NPR's Brakkton Booker spoke with some of them earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Show me what democracy looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) This is what democracy looks like.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: Outside the U.S. Capitol, they held signs that read believe the survivors and stop Kavanaugh. Rachel Cella is an attorney who traveled here from Anchorage, Alaska. Her trip was funded by the American Civil Liberties Union.

RACHEL CELLA: I'm here as part of the #100AKWomen. It's a group of Alaska women who've come all the way down - dropped our lives, dropped our jobs, all our responsibilities - to attempt to lobby our senators, most specifically Senator Murkowski, to vote no against the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh.

BOOKER: Murkowski wound up voting no today. As far as tomorrow's vote, it's unclear. Cella is clear on where she stands on Kavanaugh. She says she would be troubled to appear before him, especially after what she says were his partisan attacks last week during a Senate hearing.

CELLA: So I think there are many reasons not to confirm him. But I think that one alone should compel all of our senators to have great concern.

BOOKER: Another woman, Susan Barnes, arrived in Washington from Rockford, Ill., with her daughter, Leighton. They're also here to protest and read me their signs. Eighteen-year-old Leighton goes first.

LEIGHTON BARNES: Integrity still matters. No Kavanaugh.

BOOKER: And what does your sign say?

SUSAN BARNES: Good for a beer with the guys. Not good for the Supreme Court.

BOOKER: Susan Barnes says she doesn't want to see Kavanaugh on the high court because of the impassioned testimony of Christine Blasey Ford. She told lawmakers last week that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago while they were both in high school.

S. BARNES: I definitely felt for Dr. Ford. I am Dr. Ford.

BOOKER: Barnes says she was sexually assaulted in high school and never wants her daughter to go through something like that. Kavanaugh's supporters were hard to find outside the Capitol today. But Michael Willie, who says he's an independent, was happy to take up the mantle.

MICHAEL WILLIE: Because nobody else is out here on his side right now. They're all here. They need to hear this. They need to hear this.

BOOKER: As the time neared for the Senate to vote, protesters huddled around a portable speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So the clerk will take a moment in the Senate to record the official tally. We expect it to be 51 to 49. And the Brett Kavanaugh nomination will advance. Final confirmation vote could happen soon.


BOOKER: Some protesters vowed to come back tomorrow even though it looks likely Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed. If that happens, many say they will take their turn casting a vote in next month's midterms.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) We will remember. See you in November.

BOOKER: Brakkton Booker, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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