Senate votes for Trump’s nominee by 50-48 margin
WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Saturday to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, solidifying conservative control of the highest court in the land for years to come and ending a bitter battle over his nomination.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was not just a chance for Republicans to shift the court to the right for what could be decades but also a test of how public officials responded to the raw emotions unleashed by the allegations of
sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
That response will likely be scrutinized even further with the Nov. 6 midterm elections a month away, giving Democrats a chance to take control of one or more chambers of Congress.
Kavanaugh was sworn in later Saturday, with Chief Justice John Roberts administering the constitutional oath and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh was replacing, administering the judicial oath.
The confirmation was also a victory for President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh. He told reporters before the Senate vote that Kavanaugh would be a “great justice of the Supreme Court.”
The final vote was 50-48. Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to break ranks and vote in favor of Kavanaugh. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., was at his daughter’s wedding Saturday, and fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, who’d signaled a “no” vote, instead voted “present” as a collegial gesture.
For weeks, Kavanaugh’s future had hung in the balance during hearings, FBI investigations and sexual assault allegations, which he has denied.
Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation became clear Friday afternoon when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who had been on the fence for months, announced her support for the judge in a 45-minute speech on the Senate floor.
“It is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy,” she said.
The anger among Kavanaugh’s critics was evident on the steps of the Capitol, where hundreds of protesters had gathered. Many sat down until police began making widespread arrests.
They held signs reading “Kava Nope” and “Shame, Collins.” Many of the protesters said they felt powerless but vowed that next month’s midterms would change that.
Before Vice President Mike Pence called for the first vote, protesters in the Senate angrily began yelling and were dragged out by police.
“I do not consent,” a woman could be heard screaming after she was taken away.