Friday, 19 October, 2018

Senate confirms Kavanaugh to Supreme Court after bitter partisan battle

Watch live: Final Senate vote on Kavanaugh nomination BREAKING: Brett Kavanaugh Confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court | Trending
Andrew Cummings | 09 October, 2018, 05:03

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today decried the full Senate's confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Senate voted 50-48 to approve Kavanaugh as more than 1,000 protesters rallied in Washington against a nominee who had to overcome questions over his candour, partisan rhetoric and lifestyle as a young man.

Protesters in the Senate gallery also interrupted the vote and were removed.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican to oppose the confirmation, but having paired her vote with the absent yes vote of Senator Steve Daines, it remained off of the official count.

The path to Kavanaugh's confirmation cleared on Friday when two wavering Republicans, Susan Collins of ME and Jeff Flake of Arizona, said they would vote for Kavanaugh after concluding that Ford's allegations, voiced by her in an emotional hearing last week, could not be corroborated. Senate Judiciary Republicans voted down repeated efforts by Democrats to gain access to those records, which included details about Kavanaugh's time working on torture and detention policy in the Bush White House, as well as his time clerking for Judge Alex Kozinski, who retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in disgrace following a series of sexual misconduct allegations. That "nay" vote and the fact that the committee voted to move ahead with Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing caused a number of Democratic senators, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, to walk out in protest. This time the committee and the nation heard allegations of sexual assault from California professor Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh's response.

'Vote them out!' was the most common chant, directed at every Republican who sided with Trump despite a heartfelt sexual assault claim from a woman who claims a 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her at a 1982 party, when she was 15.

Moments after Collins pledged to back Kavanaugh, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who is in a tough race for re-election in West Virginia where Trump is popular, also declared his support, leaving little doubt of a Republican victory.

Trump said after the vote that he was "100 percent" certain that Ford named the wrong person when she accused Kavanaugh in her testimony.

Shortly after the vote, President Donald Trump applauded the Senate for confirming his "GREAT NOMINEE". 'I don't remember.' How many years ago was it?

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The outcome had remained in doubt, however, after one Republican, Lisa Murkowski, defied her party and voted against moving ahead. She called her decision to cast the lone GOP vote against the nominee the toughest of her career. "I admire her a lot", he said .

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Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan expressed concern Friday over the court's lack of a swing vote with Justice Anthony Kennedy's departure from the bench.

"Senators claiming to want a dignified debate should not repeat lies constructed by the Judiciary Committee that were cynically created to win support for Judge Kavanaugh".

After Ford's allegations, Democrats and their allies became engaged as seldom before, though there were obvious echoes of Thomas' combative confirmation over the sexual harassment accusations of Anita Hill, who worked for him at two federal agencies.

There are signs this tactic of projecting Kavanaugh as a victim are already working, and that voter enthusiasm among Republicans - something that is already high among Democrats - is rising quickly. The cloture numbers suggested that the majority of votes would fall directly along party lines; in this respect, they did not disappoint.

After weeks of debate within the Senate as well as widespread protests outside of it, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

And "Shame! Shame! Shame!" emanated through the Senate just after Manchin's vote. "It's crucial that we listen to their voices and not dismiss or ignore them". Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations.

'I had one beer that's the only thing I remember!' Trump said as the crowd cheered.

The Supreme Court's office of public information said Kavanaugh will be sworn in Saturday "so that he can begin to participate in the work of the Court immediately". That rare procedural maneuver left Kavanaugh with the same two-vote margin he'd have had if Murkowski and Daines had both voted. At one point in the hearing, Kavanaugh blamed a Clinton-revenge conspiracy for the accusations against him. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Judiciary Committee, argued on the floor, "This investigation found no hint of misconduct".

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