US Senate confirms Judge Kavanaugh for Supreme Court
7 hours ago
The U.S. Senate on Saturday voted 50-48 to narrowly confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, ending a bitterly divisive fight over the controversial nominee.
It was the closest such vote in a century, according to AFP.
And it came amid controversy over sexual abuse allegations against him.
Even as the vote was being cast, more than 1,000 protesters rallied in Washington against the judge, with questions raised over his candour, partisan rhetoric and lifestyle as a young man.
The month long battle over the nomination has roiled American passions — the vote was disrupted on several occasions by angry protests in the gallery — but handed Trump one of the biggest victories of his presidency.
It drew the line under a bruising nomination process defined by harrowing testimony from a woman who says Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were teenagers — and by his fiery rebuttal.
The two-vote margin of victory made it the closest confirmation vote since 1881, when Stanley Matthews, President James Garfield’s pick, sealed a 24 to 23 win.
The confirmation means Trump has succeeded in having his two picks seated on the court — tilting it decidedly to the right in a major coup for the Republican leader less than halfway through his term.
It reflects a high water mark of the Trump presidency: Republican control of the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the judiciary’s top court.
But the confirmation hearing inflamed passions as never before.
Just hours before the vote, scores of protesters broke through barricades and staged a raucous sit-in protest on the US Capitol steps, just feet away from the imposing doors to the Rotunda.
As protesters chanted “Shame!” and “November is coming!” police took several dozen protesters down the steps and put them in plastic flex-cuffs.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has laid bare the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill and the political polarization of America just a month before midterm elections.
His promotion to the Supreme Court also stands as a demoralizing defeat for Democrats who had battled hard to block the 53-year-old judge at all costs.
But Senator Ed Markey insisted ahead of the confirmation that it would only galvanize Democrats to deliver a “devastating” blow to Republicans at the ballot box.