Kavanaugh poised to win confirmation to the Supreme Court Saturday afternoon

Lamar Ellis
October 8, 2018

When Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the vote, exited the Senate, he was heckled by onlookers outside until he ducked into his limousine.

With judge Brett Kavanaugh officially ascending to the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon, New Yorkers gathered in Union Square to denounce the new Associate Justice, who replaces retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

After speaking with Kavanaugh and signing the commission to make him a member of the Supreme Court, Trump also took the time to mock anti-Kavanaugh protesters who swarmed the steps of the Supreme Court.

The Senate is expected to vote Saturday on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and - barring a major unforeseen development - in all likelihood, he will be confirmed by the narrowest of margins. The Senate vote delivered an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country's cultural, gender and political divides.

The Trump appointee has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by three women in recent weeks, and critics have characterized his confirmation as an affront to survivors of sexual assault.

Sen. Jeff Flake, a retiring senator and frequent thorn in the side of Trump, achieved a delay long enough for an FBI to reopen its background investigation of the nominee.

Within hours of the Senate vote on Saturday 50 to 48 in his favour, Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, solidifying the conservative majority in the nation's top court.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to break ranks in Friday's cloture vote.

Democrats said Kavanaugh would push the court too far, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump should the president encounter legal problems from the special counsel's investigations into Russian connections with his 2016 presidential campaign. She then seemed to walk it back, saying she was "not making any announcements".

While Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Kavanaugh's confirmation was a shining moment for the GOP heading into next month's pivotal elections, GOP Gov. John Kasich of OH predicted "a good year" for Democrats and said he wonders about "the soul of our country" in the long term after the tumultuous hearings.

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Kavanaugh's opponents raised concerns that he'd push the court further right, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump. Vice President Mike Pence planned to be available Saturday in case his tie-breaking vote was needed, which now seems unlikely.

McConnell now claims that in blocking Obama nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation process for months, "we simply followed the tradition in America, which is that if you have a Senate of a different party than the President you don't fill a vacancy created in a presidential [election] year". Kavanugh has strongly denied the allegations.

Collins also said she feels "comfortable" with her decision about voting to confirm Kavanaugh on Saturday.

His nomination was greeted by staunch protest in the District with thousands of anti-Kavanaugh protesters swarming Capitol Hill over the past week. She is the most moderate Republican in the Senate, and often votes against the GOP.

Two Republican waverers, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, finally chose to back the judge.

"We have a lot of women that are extremely happy - a tremendous number - because they're thinking of their sons, they're thinking of their husbands and their brothers and their uncles and others and women are, I think, extremely happy", he said.

The vote came after Kavanaugh had been forced to fend off allegations of sexual assault.

Until now, the fight for control of Congress has largely been viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump's first two years in office.

"This wasn't going to get any better", McConnell said.

"We stood up to the mob", he said.

The accusations against Kavanaugh energized the #MeToo social media movement that emerged after high-profile accusations of sexual assault and harassment by men in politics, the media and the entertainment industry.

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