Rand Paul says he will support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Rand Paul said Monday that he will support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh after meeting with him last week.

"I believe he will carefully adhere to the Constitution and will take his job to protect individual liberty seriously," Paul said in a statement. 

The Kentucky senator was one of the few Republicans considered a possible swing vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also are being closely watched. 

But with Paul voicing clear support -- and Collins and Murkowski signaling potential support in recent weeks -- Kavanaugh's prospects appear to be improving as GOP leaders aim to engineer a swift confirmation by the fall. 

In another sign of congressional outreach, Kavanaugh is having his first meeting Monday with a Democratic senator since becoming Trump's high court nominee. 

He plans to sit down with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of a handful of Democratic senators who could cross the aisle to vote for Kavanaugh as most Democrats line up against him. 

Paul, meanwhile, has taken issue with Kavanaugh's record supporting the warrantless collection of telephone metadata. 

"I have expressed my concern over Judge Kavanaugh’s record on warrantless bulk collection of data and how that might apply to very important privacy cases before the Supreme Court," he said Monday. 

But he said his vote is not a "single-issue" decision and voiced confidence in Kavanaugh's record on other issues. 

"My conversation with Judge Kavanaugh reinforces my belief that he will evaluate cases before the Supreme Court from a textual and originalist point of view," Paul said.

“On issues such as property rights and reining in the administrative state, Judge Kavanaugh has a strong record and showed a deep commitment during our meeting. ... Finally, his strong defenses of the First and Second Amendments in landmark cases show someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and will fight with backbone. Judge Kavanaugh will have my support and my vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court.” 

Republicans, with a 51-49 majority, have little wiggle room on the Kavanaugh vote. And with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., out battling brain cancer, GOP leaders cannot spare a single vote unless they attract Democratic support.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.