WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWS CENTER Maine) – A silence fell over the nation’s capital Friday night after Sen. Susan Collins announced she would vote to confirm judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The somber tone was a stark contrast to what have been the most intense and challenging weeks of Collins’ career.
Activists scattered about the Senate office buildings and Capitol grounds, some seen hugging and crying, were stunned by her decision.
“I’m just shocked,” Heather Everly said. “It breaks my heart. There are so many people this is going to affect.”
Everly, a sexual assault survivor, was one of the hundreds of protestors who gathered to urge Collins to vote against Kavanaugh Friday.
Massive crowds packed the fourth-floor hall of the Derkin Building where Collins’ office is in Washington throughout the day Friday. Reporters and activists bombarded the senator as she left to go to the Senate chamber.
An activist from Lewiston, Everly approached Collins demanding she respond to Mainers “living in fear.”
“I know what that fear is like, and I let her know that Mainers have fear too,” she said.
The crowd screamed at Collins as she was escorted by armed officers into an elevator—a look of anguish on her face as the doors closed.
Everly said she even went so far as to confront Collins outside her Washington home Friday morning, after she refused to meet with Everly and a group of Maine activists.
Just moments before Collins’ speech on the Senate Floor, Capitol Police forced dozens of protestors and media outlets out of the hall where her Senate office is located.
Officials said they did it because the crowd was a “safety concern.” Protestors were outraged.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Collins said the confirmation process of Kavanaugh had hit "rock bottom" and claimed that the controversial nominee had been met with many "baseless" attacks.
The level of intense scrutiny and division has put Collins at the forefront of American politics. Friday she proved that she refused to let drama, or even fear, influence her final decision.
“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Collins said.