Police on Saturday began arresting protesters who had gathered just feet (meters) from the entrance to the United States Capitol building, despite a barricade blocking off the area, as legislators inside prepared to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Murkowski told reporters she made a decision to oppose the procedural measure as she walked to the Senate chamber minutes before the vote.
Republicans hold only a 51-49 Senate majority and therefore had little support to spare.
"No one is above the law, not even a Supreme Court Justice", co-founder and president of Free Speech For People John Bonifaz said in a statement, as quoted by Newsweek.
"I value and respect where my colleagues have come down from in their support for the judge", Murkowski said.
McConnell added he knew he what he had to do when he filed the cloture motion last week.
Rice tweeted a little later that she was "not making any announcements" but was "deeply disappointed" by Collins' vote.
After remaining undecided on whether Kavanaugh's nomination should move forward, Murkowski rendered her decision Friday in dramatic fashion.
A sharply partisan battle over Kavanaugh became an intense political drama when university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school in Maryland in 1982.
"I will be a "no" tomorrow", Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said on the Senate floor.
"It is a lovely thing to see - and they are not paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs".
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who faces a tough re-election as Montana's Democratic U.S. senator, has said he will vote against Kavanaugh.
Vice-President Mike Pence was ready to cast a tie-breaking vote if needed.
The suspense over whether Brett Kavanaugh will be the next Supreme Court associate justice is likely to end this weekend, but it isn't over yet.
Murkowski waits to board the Senate subway auto as she heads to her office after listening to Collins declare she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh's nomination. Joe Manchin, who voted in favor of moving Kavanaugh's nomination to a floor vote. Democrats belittled the bureau's findings, saying agents constrained by the White House hadn't reached out to numerous other people with potentially important information.
Trump took the brutal battle to a new stage earlier Friday when he dismissed female anti-Kavanaugh protesters who have cited their own experiences of sexual assault as "elevator screamers".
It represents the culmination of a decades-long project by the conservative movement to construct a like-minded majority on the Supreme Court which has been a defining and unifying cause in successive congressional and presidential campaigns.
Murkowski has expressed unease with the sexual assault allegations lodged against Kavanaugh, which he denies. Murkowski has reviewed seven Supreme Court nominations since 2005.
In a procedural vote Friday that handed Republicans a vital initial victory, senators voted 51-49 to limit debate, defeating Democratic efforts to scuttle the nomination with endless delays.
When Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, Democrats leapt to oppose him, saying that past statements and opinions showed he'd be a threat to the Roe v. Wade case that assured the right to abortion.
The committee paused the nomination process for a week so the FBI could investigate.
"It's a lot of work - maybe they don't want to do it", said Grassley. Jeff Flake, another conservative swing vote, said Friday that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh.