Brett Kavanaugh sworn in as Supreme Court justice after narrow Senate vote

Larry Hoffman
October 9, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, after a wrenching debate over sexual misconduct and judicial temperament that shattered the Senate, captivated the nation and ushered in an acrimonious new level of polarization - now encroaching on the court that the 53-year-old judge may well swing rightward for decades to come.

The roll call at 3:44 p.m. brought the curtain down on the most bitter confirmation fight since the battle over Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

As Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., - whose demand for a one-week delay in the vote pending an Federal Bureau of Investigation review of sexual assault allegations against the nominee provided Kavanaugh opponents hope he would vote "no" - was about to be called on, a male protester stood up, started walking toward the exit and with voice barely raised, stated simply, "Flake, you're a disgrace" and motioned toward Capitol Police and staffers that he wasn't about to struggle.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the final vote.

On Air Force One, Trump told reporters his speech in MS last week, in which he was widely seen to be mocking Christine Blasey Ford, "had such a great impact". This marks the second time President Trump has placed a conservative justice on the court, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017; it likely means a conservative majority for the court.

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY looked ahead to November, appealing to voters beyond the Senate chamber: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box".

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of ME isn't up for re-election until 2020, but critics vowed Saturday she'll pay a political price for voting for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Both Republicans voted to back the soon-to-be Justice's nomination.

In a much-watched, televised vote Saturday afternoon, senators voted 50-48 to confirm President Trump's pick to the High Court. Steven Daines, considered a reliable Kavanaugh vote, would not have to fly back from his daughter's wedding today to cast his vote. Republicans hold 51 Senate seats, while Democrats and two independents aligned with them hold the remaining 49.

It was the closest roll call to confirm a justice since 1881, when Stanley Matthews was approved by 24-23, according to Senate records.

Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, which contributes to female Democratic candidates, assailed the confirmation of "an alleged sexual assailant and anti-choice radical to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court".

Furthermore, the dispute over Kavanaugh has added fuel to campaigning for the elections in November when Democrats will try to take control of Congress from the Republicans. "Women will not forget this".

Manchin voted in favor of Kavanaugh.

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.

The committee paused the nomination process for a week so the FBI could investigate. A group of them climbed the Capitol steps, and some were led away by police.

Inside the Senate, resentments fanned by the battle showed no signs of receding.

'This is one of the reasons I chose him is because there is no one with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump also called Kavanaugh, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, en route to Kansas, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

At a political rally in Mississippi Tuesday night, Trump mimicked Ford's responses during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

The vote comes after weeks of unrest around the country after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by Palo Alto University professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Melania (meh-LAH'-nee-ah) Trump is offering some supportive words for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The vote was apparently interrupted repeatedly, the New York Times reports, including by one woman who yelled, "This is a stain on American history!"

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