Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who was first elected in the "Year of the Woman" in 1992 after the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas, said that in confirming Kavanaugh the Senate would be telling young girls and women that "your voices just don't matter".
At times, the two groups of protesters, both for and against Kavanaugh's confirmation, met in the hallways for heated arguments - including this one recorded by NPR's Barbara Sprunt, which at least ended amicably enough in a high-five.
The math is breaking in Kavanaugh's favor as the climax drew near for a spellbinding, election-season fight that's been fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and stalwart conservative support for President Donald Trump. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the 53-year-old Kavanaugh a victim of "an ugly left-wing smear campaign" and charged Democrats with character assassination.
Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seemed assured to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side.
Republicans argued that a supplemental FBI investigation instigated by wavering GOP senators and ordered by the White House turned up no corroborating witnesses to the claims and that Kavanaugh had sterling credentials for the court.
While the vote was not necessarily indicative of the final confirmation vote, it moved him one step closer to sitting on the highest court in the land, with three out of four key undecided senators voting "yes" to advance the nomination.
Protesters chanted "Shame" at Manchin later when he talked to reporters outside his office. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that she opposes Kavanaugh because of his temperament.
Lisa Murkowski voted against moving the nomination forward, also announcing she will vote against confirming Kavanaugh.
Sen. Susan Collins of ME, her longtime friend and fellow moderate Republican, spoke on the Senate floor for 45 minutes, explaining her support for Kavanaugh in detail.
Regarding the decision not to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation to interview Kavanaugh or Ford, McConnell said, "None of them wanted to do that".
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If you want to see how debate should be conducted in the Senate, as the founders sought to resolve the difficulty of unifying a democracy composed a various interests and beliefs, take 45 minutes out of your day and listen to watch she said in its entirety.
Voting no on Kavanaugh was "the most hard decision" of her Senate career, Murkowski told reporters afterward.
Collins, perhaps the chamber's most moderate Republican, proclaimed her support for Kavanaugh at the end of a floor speech that lasted almost 45 minutes. As the lone Republican to vote against cloture, it would be very odd for her to then vote for his confirmation. "I admire her a lot", he said.
Murkowski's vote was the latest example of the independent streak she forged since overcoming a Republican primary challenge in 2010 to win re-election as a rare write-in candidate.
The Senate is expected to confirm Kavanaugh on Saturday.
Some sharp observers have noted that Collins has voted for cloture and then against confirmation before - most notably in the case of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
"It was only when responding to the attacks on his character that he even showed much emotion, and I believe that most honest observers would allow him some slack for that in view of the nature of the allegations against him", Kyl said.
McConnell said that defeating Kavanaugh would mean that "media bullying and mob intimidation are valid tactics for shaping the Senate".
During the controversial speech, Trump mocked Ford and mimicked her, claiming her allegations against Kavanaugh lacked sufficient detail.
Still, she sent signals that Kavanaugh had cleared a hurdle by reassuring her that he believed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights is settled law.