A vote to confirm Kavanaugh is scheduled for early next week. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - and two Democrats in red states - Sens.
However, Jeff Flake supported a vote to pass the nomination from the Judiciary Committee to the full Senate.
As CBS News' Nancy Cordes reports, this is significant because, assuming all Democrats vote no, Republicans cannot afford to lose more than one of their own senators on the floor.
As the hearing got under way, Democratic Sen.
When Flake briefly spoke during Kavanaugh's questioning before the committee Thursday, which happened hours after Christine Blasey Fordtestified about how she alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, he indicated that he was grappling with the decision.
"I had planned to just talk to him nicely, but once when I saw that he was voting for Kavanaugh my niceties went out the window", she said.
Within minutes of the conclusion of the riveting Senate hearing, Republicans announced that the Judiciary Committee would meet Friday morning for a vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation. Those three senators had huddled with Flake late Thursday, after the hearing.
Repeatedly, Grassley insisted that Democrats who kept up their calls for an FBI investigation didn't "understand" the committee's own probe.
Another protester said, "You have power when so many women are powerless".
She pressed him again - asking, "Do you think that he's telling the truth?" - to which Flake answered "thank you", again. Republicans praised Ford's bravery in coming forward, but many of them said her account won't affect their support for Kavanaugh.