The US Senate has pushed Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court past a key procedural hurdle.
The chamber voted 51-49 to move forward with President Donald Trump’s nominee.
A final vote on Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination could occur over the weekend.
There is no guarantee that the senators who supported moving forward will back Mr Kavanaugh on the final vote.
Republican senator Susan Collins, who voted to advance Mr Kavanaugh, said she will announce her decision on confirmation later.
'Very proud of the US Senate'
Christine Blasey Ford who testified on allegations against Judge Kavanaugh
Also voting to move the nomination forward was Democratic senator Joe Manchin, who had been undecided.
But Republican senator Lisa Murkowski voted against moving the nomination forward.
Mr Kavanaugh's nomination has been hit by accusations of sexual misconduct.
He forcefully denied the allegations.
Mr Trump praised the Senate, tweeting: "Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting "YES" to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!"
The president, who framed the nomination as a rallying issue for Republican voters at a Thursday night rally, has been keeping in close contact with staff and Republican allies in the Senate, the White House indicated.