Lisa Murkowski declares Brett Kavanaugh 'not right' for Supreme Court

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she will oppose Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

“I believe Brett Kavanaugh is a good man,” Murkowski told reporters on Friday after voting against bringing his nomination to a final vote. “In my view, he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”

Murkowski, a key GOP moderate, said she did not come to a decision until walking onto the Senate floor on Friday. The long-awaited announcement comes as a relief to Democrats and women’s groups who view the appellate court judge as a serious threat to the Affordable Care Act and reproductive rights, which Murkowski supports. Her decision probably also had something to do with loud opposition to Kavanaugh from Alaska Natives, who were crucial to Murkowski’s re-election in 2010.

Murkowski was also under pressure to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination based on the allegations of sexual assault that were leveled against him late in the confirmation process. Last month, the Alaska centrist called for a pause in the process to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her in high school when they were both teens, as well as an investigation of the charges. The FBI conducted a limited probe of the allegations but the report proved inconclusive. 

SEE: Protests against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

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Protests against Brett Kavanaugh
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Protests against Brett Kavanaugh
Activists hold a protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the court in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists rally inside the Senate Hart Office Building during a protest in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and in support for Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Activists hold a protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A woman thrusts her fist in support of activists rallying inside the Senate Hart Office Building during a protest in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and in support of Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS//Mary F. Calvert
Activists protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the court in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Protesters demonstrate against Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Activists hold a protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and in support for Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982, in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A demonstrator sits on the ground during a protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Workers and onlookers watch as activists rally inside the Senate Hart Office Building during a protest in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and in support for Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists rally inside the Senate Hart Office Building during a protest in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists hold a protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists rally inside the Senate Hart Office Building during a protest in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and in support for Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists hold a protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists hold a protest march and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists protest and rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the court in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Activists march during a rally in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Demonstrators wait in-line to enter Hart Senate Office Building for a protest against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh October 4, 2018 at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senators had an opportunity to review a new FBI background investigation into accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh and Republican leaders are moving to have a vote on his confirmation this weekend. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Protesters occupy the Senate Hart building during a rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 4, 2018. - Top Republicans voiced confidence Thursday that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the US Supreme Court this weekend, as they asserted that an FBI probe had found nothing to support sex assault allegations against Donald Trump's nominee.'Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed on Saturday,' Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester holds up a sign in the Senate Hart building during a rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 4, 2018. - Top Republicans voiced confidence Thursday that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the US Supreme Court this weekend, as they asserted that an FBI probe had found nothing to support sex assault allegations against Donald Trump's nominee.'Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed on Saturday,' Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Protesters chant their support for fellow demonstrators who are being arrested by U.S. Capitol Police for protesting against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Senators had an opportunity to review a new FBI background investigation into accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh and Republican leaders are moving to have a vote on his confirmation this weekend. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: (L to R) Bob Bland, Co-President, Women's March; model and actress Emily Ratajkowski and actress and comedian Amy Schumer attend the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Protest in front of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
A protester opposed to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Senate Republicans pushed toward a make-or-break test vote on Kavanaugh as key GOP holdouts Jeff Flake and Susan Collins said an FBI investigation prompted by sexual misconduct allegations against him appeared to be thorough. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators protest US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in front of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. - A new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against US President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Thursday. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh near the US Capitol on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. - A new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against US President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Thursday. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in front of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. - A new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against US President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Thursday. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in front of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. - A new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against US President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Thursday. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in front of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. - A new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against US President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Thursday. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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It’s unclear, however, whether Murkowski’s opposition to Kavanaugh will be enough to stop him from being confirmed. The Senate is expected to hold its final vote on the nomination on Saturday when several other moderate senators could help get him a seat on the Supreme Court.

Nominated by Trump in July to replace former Justice Anthony Kennedy, the 53-year-old Kavanaugh is viewed by legal experts as a reliable conservative who will tilt the balance of the Supreme Court to the right for decades.

Murkowski, like fellow Republican centrist Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, supports abortion rights. Democrats and progressives groups hoped to sway her vote with an intense monthslong lobbying campaign, arguing that Kavanaugh would roll back abortion rights for millions of women in America. They had some reason to be optimistic: Both GOP senators bucked Trump when they helped vote down last year’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

But Murkowski stayed quiet on the matter, even after Democrats released an email Kavanaugh wrote in 2003 as a White House official for George W. Bush in which he seemed to question whether Roe v. Wade ― the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide ― was “settled law.”

While both GOP senators faced pressure to reject Kavanaugh based on his views on abortion rights, Murkowski was also urged to reject the nomination by advocates for Alaska Natives who had concerns with the judge’s record on climate change, voting rights and fishing rights. Alaska Native rights groups were particularly concerned about how the conservative judge would vote on a case they fear could destroy the way of life for tribal communities who rely on subsistence fishing in protected federal waters.

Alaskan tribal representatives, including leaders of the Hughes Tribal Council, the Ruby Tribal Council, the Tanana Tribal Council and the Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, spoke out against Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Murkowski got even more reason to oppose Kavanaugh last month when Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) came out against the nomination, voicing concern about the judge potentially voting to strike down the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and its protections for patients who have pre-existing conditions.

Murkowski, 61, isn’t up for re-election until 2022 ― a timeline that surely gave her some breathing room on Kavanaugh’s nomination. She owes little to the GOP establishment, having mounted a successful write-in campaign in 2010 with the help of tribal communities and Alaska independents.

“None of this has been fair,” Murkowski told reporters on Friday about the Kavanaugh confirmation process.  

RELATED: Members of the House of Representatives protest Brett Kavanaugh:

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Members of the House of Representatives protest Brett Kavanaugh
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Members of the House of Representatives protest Brett Kavanaugh
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 28: Members of the House of Representatives, who oppose the nomination of the Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, wait to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee vote in Dirksen Building on his nomination on September 28, 2018. From left are, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., Sheila Jackson Lee, R-Texas, Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., and Julia Brownley, D-Calif. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 28: Members of the House of Representatives, who oppose the nomination of the Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, make their way to Senate Judiciary Committee vote in Dirksen Building on his nomination on September 28, 2018. From left are, Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Texas, Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., Grace Meng, D-N.Y. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: Female members of the House of Representatives stand up to protest during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting September 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee met to discuss and later vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the nomination proceeding to a vote in the full U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 28: Members of the House of Representatives including Sheila Jackson Lee, R-Texas, who oppose the nomination of the Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, make their way into a Senate Judiciary Committee vote in Dirksen Building on his nomination on September 28, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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