As one of just two Republican women in the Senate who favour abortion rights - Collins is the other - and an opponent of the Republican push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act a year ago, Murkowski was seen as one of a handful of senators who could vote either way on Kavanaugh, even before the allegations against him emerged publicly in September.
The ferocious nature of the confirmation battle could also have an impact on the Court itself, as Kavanaugh's vehement and politicized defense of his own behavior raised questions about his temperament and whether he could genuinely be a honest broker and implementer of the law in the most sensitive cases.
Noisy to the end, the Senate battle featured a call of the roll that was interrupted several times by protesters shouting in the spectators' gallery before Capitol Police removed them.
Protesters could be heard shouting in the Senate chamber as Vice President Mike Pence presided over the final vote.
Democrats are hopeful of winning control of the House but the Senate is a long shot.
Sealing the deal were yes votes from Republican Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
Protesters against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh demonstrate at the high court in Washington ahead of his confirmation. That rare procedural maneuver left Kavanaugh with the same two-vote margin he'd have had if Murkowski and Daines had both voted. "Great decision. I very much appreciate those 50 great votes and I think he's going to go down as a totally brilliant Supreme Court Justice for many years".
Within minutes, dozens of political and advocacy groups blasted out emailed reactions.
This is the second Supreme Court appointment by President Donald Trump, who said Judge Kavanaugh would be sworn in the same day. Just as fake news thrives on creating a false equivalence between its own lies and the truth, the forces of authoritarianism and division in U.S. political life will be strengthened if they can drag the court down to their own level.
Kavanaugh denied the assault accusations made against him by Christine Blasey Ford, a university psychology professor who alleged that he attacked her at a suburban Washington house party when he was 17 and she was 15.
Since then, the country watched agape as one electric moment after another gushed forth.
Trump weighed in Saturday morning on behalf of the man he nominated in July.
"Now more than ever, our country needs a Supreme Court justice who will rise above ideology, protect the rights of all Americans and preserve our system of checks and balances by stopping presidential abuse of executive power", Butterfield said.
But the fight was defined by the sexual assault accusations.
"This is a historic night", Trump told supporters at a rally in Kansas after signing Kavanaugh's commission aboard Air Force One.
Hundreds of demonstrators protested on Capitol Hill, chanting "vote them out" and "November is coming". She said on the Senate floor late Friday that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable".
"They managed to deliver the only thing we had not been able to figure out how to do, which is to get our folks fired up", McConnell said. If Collins voted no, donations would not be withdrawn from donors.
"I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved Constitution".
Finally, if the Democrats spend the next month running against Justice Kavanaugh, they will alienate many centrist voters who are sick and exhausted of partisan gamesmanship and want to see a return to the day when members of both houses of Congress can work together in the interest of all Americans - even those who vote against them.
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