Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court yesterday after a contentious nomination process that included recriminations of political double standards and accusations of sexual assault.
The vote, largely along party lines, was 50-48 in favor of confirmation. Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana was not present for the vote because he was attending his daughter’s wedding. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the sole Senator who broke with their party. She voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday and for the full vote on Saturday voted “present.”
President Trump hailed the victory on Twitter. “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!” he wrote.
Kavanaugh was sworn in a few hours later in a ceremony at the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh is replacing, Anthony Kennedy. Supporters of Kavanaugh’s cheered his motorcade as it arrived for the ceremony. Protesters also gathered outside of the Supreme Court and were eventually pushed back from the building’s steps by police.
Kavanaugh is accused of sexual assault by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California. Ford says Kavanaugh lured her into a bedroom during a gathering at a home in suburban Maryland in the summer of 1982. She says he then threw her on a bed, got on top of her and tried to remove her clothes.
Ford says that when she attempted to scream for help, Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. A Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge, falling on top of the two and sending all three tumbling to the floor allowed Ford an opportunity to escape.
Ford, along with Senate Democrats pushed hard for an FBI investigation. Senate Republicans, along with the White House, under strong public pressure acquiesced to the demand. That investigation, limited in nature, concluded the middle of last week.
The findings of the investigation were made available to all 100 Senators but were not made public. Republicans declared that no corroborating witnesses were found to support Ford’s allegations, while Democrats decried the investigation as incomplete, citing the fact that neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were interviewed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday morning that the final vote would be held between 4 P.M. and 5 P.M. in the afternoon.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is among the very best our country has to offer,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “He unquestionably deserves confirmation.”
He also called the fierce opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination a “great political gift.”
“I want to thank the mob, because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base,” McConnell told The Washington Post.
Democrats urged their supporters to keep fighting. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in remarks from the Senate floor criticized Kavanaugh as an unfit, partisan nominee, who would work hard to overturn landmark decisions important to progressives, such as Roe v Wade. He implored voters frustrated by Kavanaugh’s nomination process to channel their anger into Election Day action.
“If you believe Dr. Ford, and other brave women who came forward, and you want to vindicate their sacrifice, vote,” he said.
Photo by the Office of Senator Chuck Grassley via Wikimedia Commons