'Big win for Trump' as Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to supreme court

Lamar Ellis
October 9, 2018

- President Donald Trump touted "a historic night" during a rally in Kansas Saturday that came hours after the Senate confirmed Trump's second Supreme Court appointment, Brett Kavanaugh.

Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to oppose the nominee, voted "present", offsetting the absence of Kavanaugh supporter Steve Daines of Montana, who was attending his daughter's wedding.

The upper house is split 51-49 in favour of the Republicans and the vote was largely along party lines. As a replacement for Anthony Kennedy, a frequent swing vote on cases dealing with LGBTQ rights, abortion, and affirmative action, Kavanaugh could cause the court to lean more conservative on these issues.

"We're taking back Maine's Senate seat, and claiming it for someone who knows how to listen to her constituents", tweeted Mainers for Accountable Leadership, which organized protests at Collins' office.

Controversy around the Kavanaugh nomination spiked when Christine Blasey Ford, a high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh's came forward with credible allegations that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in high school.

Kavanaugh's confirmation seemed all but sure on Friday when key Republicans and one Democrats, who had been undecided on the nomination, said they would support the judge. "Brett Kavanaugh is a man of great character and intellect".

The Senate's vote on Saturday (October 6) was 50 to 48 - the narrowest margin since 1881, the Washington Post points out - and came in almost precisely down party lines. Of course, Donald Trump, who has been standing by Kavanaugh from the very beginning was pleased with the results. The Senate Judiciary Committee says the Federal Bureau of Investigation also interviewed two alleged eyewitnesses to the incident named by Ramirez and one of her college friends.

And he says he thinks the week-long delay as the FBI investigated sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh was something positive.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who helped push through Kavanaugh's nomination despite moments where it looked like it could fail, effusively praised Kavanaugh.

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Demonstrators chanted "November is coming" and "We believe survivors".

The fight ended up less about judicial views than the sexual assault accusations that riveted the nation and are certain to continue a national debate and #MeToo reckoning that is yet to be resolved.

The Senate vote takes the highest U.S. court down a more conservative path for perhaps a generation and is a bitter blow to Democrats already chafing at Republican control of the White House and both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

Joe Manchin is facing a hard re-election campaign in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide.

"As I said on the floor of the Senate, the confirmation process has become poisonous, and senators on both sides of the aisle need to work together to fix some of the damage to the institution and the country".

Manchin expressed empathy for sexual assault victims.

Kavanaugh is set to be sworn in later Saturday.

The Senate is poised on Saturday to confirm Kavanaugh as an associate justice.

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