UPDATE: Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court at a private ceremony Saturday shortly after the Senate voted to confirm him. The 53-year-old justice’s wife, children, and parents attended as Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Kavanaugh is replacing, administered the judicial oath in the court’s private conference room. The quick swearing-in will allow Kavanaugh to start work immediately and be seated for oral arguments at the court Tuesday.
After the confirmation vote Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted praise for Kavanaugh and the Senate: “I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court. Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!” Trump was headed to a rally in Topeka, Kan., where he is expected to make further remarks on the confirmation and the political battle that led up to it.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (4:19 p.m.): WASHINGTON—The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court with a 50-48 vote Saturday that extended across the aisle by a hair’s breadth.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke before the vote, followed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is among the very best our nation has to offer,” McConnell said in his speech. “He will make the Senate and the country proud.”
Kavanaugh replaces retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate who cast the deciding vote in many critical cases. With Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, both nominated by President Donald Trump, the court will have a conservative majority.
Weeks of turmoil threatened the nomination after Christine Blasey Ford and two other women accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh denied the accusations and held onto unwavering support from McConnell and the White House. Additional background checks by the FBI “produced no evidence whatsoever to corroborate any prior misconduct,” McConnell said.
With a precariously thin 51-49 Republican majority and a handful of undecided votes, the nomination seemed tenuous until Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., announced her firm support in a floor speech Friday afternoon. One blue state Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, didn’t support the nomination but voted “present” as a courtesy to Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., so he would not have to fly back from his daughter’s wedding Saturday afternoon. Red state Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, W.Va., voted yes.
Demonstrators crowded around Capitol Hill throughout the day Saturday, and screams of protest erupted in the Senate gallery as Vice President Mike Pence called for a vote. Trump noted on Twitter that pro-Kavanaugh protesters also gathered ahead of the vote: “It is a beautiful thing to see—and they are not paid professional protesters … Big day for America!”
In an interview with The Washington Post, McConnell predicted the month of bitter partisan wrangling will work in Republicans’ favor in November’s midterm elections. “It’s been a great political gift for us,” he said. “I want to thank the mob, because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base.”
Meanwhile, House Democrats are promising to open another investigation into the accusations against Kavanaugh if they take control of the House in November, The New York Times reported.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.