Those accusations transformed the clash from a routine struggle over judicial ideology into an angry jumble of questions about victims' rights, the presumption of innocence and personal attacks on nominees.
It reflects a high water mark of the Trump presidency: Republican control of the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the judiciary's top court.
But in the wake of the unsuccessful bid to stop Kavanaugh's confirmation, the activists both on Capitol Hill and on social media began lashing out against Collins and her colleagues.
President Trump: "You don't hand matches to an arsonist".
The nomination process has ripped open the scabs on the never-healed wounds of polarisation on the U.S. body politic exactly a month before the mid-term elections to Congress that can determine the future of Trump's presidency. Republicans hold only a 51-49 Senate majority and therefore had little support to spare.More news: Opponents vow Sen. Collins will pay price for Kavanaugh vote
The New York Democrat also blasted the "biased, unfair" confirmation process and urged Americans to vote.
The justices themselves made a quiet show of solidarity. "And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is nearly inevitably going to do a worse job as President".
Trump also pointed to television footage of protesters outside the Capitol, and said their numbers paled in comparison to the thousands of supporters awaiting him in Kansas. Vice President Mike Pence presided, his potential tie-breaking vote unnecessary. To date, only one Supreme Court justice has been impeached, though he was acquitted. Yet Kavanaugh is joining under a cloud.
The hurdle for Mr Kavanaugh's nomination came when Dr Ford accused him of drunkenly sexually assaulting her at a high school gathering in 1982. An appellate court judge on the District of Columbia circuit for the past 12 years, he pushed for the Senate vote as hard as Republican leaders - not just to reach this capstone of his legal career, but in fighting to clear his name.
Saturday's vote for Kavanaugh was 50-48.More news: Anfield Hoodoo Haunts Manchester City In Top-Of-Table Clash Against Liverpool
Collins wasn't the only senator to announce a plan to vote yes in the full vote tomorrow. Hangers and worse have been delivered to their offices, a Roe v. Wade reference.
Some 164 people were arrested, most for demonstrating on the Capitol steps, 14 for disrupting the Senate's roll call vote.
McConnell told The Associated Press in an interview that the "mob" of opposition - confronting senators in the hallways and at their homes - united his narrowly divided GOP majority as Kavanaugh's confirmation teetered and will give momentum to his party this fall. Trump said he was "100 percent" certain Kavanaugh was innocent. At one point in the hearing, Kavanaugh blamed a Clinton-revenge conspiracy for the accusations against him. Democrats dismissed the truncated report as insufficient.
That's because Republican senators who had been wavering on the issue have come down, with one exception, on Mr Kavanaugh's side. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, lined up behind the judge. Susan Collins several times ahead of her announcement Friday that she would support Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court - and he's been out of office for almost a decade. Notably, neither Ford nor Kavanaugh spoke with the Bureau for the probe.
As the Senate tried to recover from its charged atmosphere, Murkowski's move offered a moment of civility. But she also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ford had provided. "They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult", Ford said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in September.More news: India keeps policy rate unchanged in surprise move, rupee tumbles
It has nine judges, all of whom are appointed for life, and the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh is likely to give it a more conservative hue. Prior to that, he served in the George W. Bush administration, as an associate counsel and then subsequently as assistant to the president and staff secretary. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the longest-serving current senator, said in a floor speech. "We have a lot of work to do".