10:55: Another thought occurs to me with Murkowski’s surprise nay. She may have wanted the FBI to go back and interview Ford and Kavanaugh, and therefore wanted debate to continue. It might be that she’ll still vote for Kavanaugh in the end, but … I wouldn’t bet the bank on it.

10:53: The motion passes 51-49, and now the clock starts toward confirmation this weekend. If Manchin, Flake, and Collins stick with their aye votes, this will be the final vote on confirmation, too. Both Manchin and Collins have suggested today that their first vote might not reflect their last vote. We’ll keep an eye out on that.

10:51: Goodness, I just realized I put “eye” instead of “aye” in the headline. Yeesh.

10:49: Right now it’s 51-45 for cloture, with a few Democrats still left to cast their votes.

10:44: Uh oh in the other direction — Joe Manchin just voted aye on cloture. That gives the GOP 51 votes. If so, then they can lose Murkowski on the final vote — as long as they don’t lose Collins and Flake.

10:43: Uh oh …

10:38: Sounded like Flake was a yes on cloture.

10:37: Roll call on cloture begins.

10:33 ET: Mitch McConnell just spent the last ten minutes or so wrapping up debate, castigating Senate Democrats for their hyperbolic and unsubstantiated attacks on Brett Kavanaugh and on the norms of due process and burden of proof. He made a last explicit reference to the McCarthy hearings but said the Senate never deviates from the norms “for long.”

Original post follows …

Get ready for the big penultimate finale in the Kavanaughcalypse. Thus far we don’t have much to feel confident in how the vote will go, but the Senate Judiciary chair told his colleagues how it should be going. “In a previous era,” Chuck Grassley intoned earlier today, “this highly qualified nominee would have received unanimous support in the Senate.”

So where will this vote lead us? No one really knows for sure, but Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn says he’s “optimistic.” At least someone is:

It sounds like Cornyn knows more than we’re guessing. As noted in an update to my previous post, there’s some question as to whether Susan Collins might be thinking about allowing cloture but voting against confirmation. What that would do for her is anyone’s guess, and of course Jeff Flake still seems to be doing his own Hamlet routine. One potentially positive note comes from Democrat Joe Manchin, who is refusing to say how he’ll vote — which might indicate that he’s a yes.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have moved on from the unsubstantiated allegations to attack Kavanaugh’s temperament. Chuck Schumer called his second hearing statement “the bitterest partisan testimony I have ever heard coming from a candidate seeking the Senate’s approval.”

Newt Gingrich provided a little context for that complaint missing from Schumer’s speech:

We’ll put updates at the top of the post in reverse chronological order (most recent first), so stay tuned. Here’s the live stream from the Senate floor so readers can follow along: