The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday approved Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's pick for the US Supreme Court , one day after he fought off allegations of sexual assault at an emotional day-long public hearing.

The panel split along strict party lines with the 11 Republican members backing Kavanaugh and all 10 Democrats voting against the president's controversial nominee.

The nomination of the 53-year-old conservative judge to the nation's highest court will now go to the full Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority.

But in a dramatic last-minute move, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona asked for a delay of up to a week before the full vote takes place to allow for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

“This country's being ripped apart,” said Flake, a vocal critic of Trump who is retiring from the Senate. “And we have to ensure that we do due diligence here.”

Democrats have repeatedly demanded an FBI probe into the allegations by university professor Christine Blasey Ford that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh decades ago.

Kavanaugh strongly denied the charges at a committee hearing on Thursday.