Senate approves Kavanaugh nomination for final vote 51 to 49

Senate approves Kavanaugh nomination for final vote 51 to 49

Susan Collins of ME declared Friday she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, all but ensuring that a deeply riven Senate will elevate the conservative jurist to the nation's highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago.

Within hours of the Senate vote on Saturday 50 to 48 in his favour, Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Investigators did not interview Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford, the research psychiatrist who alleged he attempted to rape her when the two were teenagers in the early 1980s.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Washington Post that the protests against Kavanaugh have been a "great political gift" to the Republican Party.

There were shouts of "shame" from the public gallery as he voted yes.

She and the other lawyers on the team have complained about the Senate's handling of her allegation, and about the FBI's quick investigation into it. Agents did not find any corroboration, though Ms. Blasey Ford's team says they didn't talk to enough people.

"I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge", he said, in a highly unusual plea to defend his impartiality. Something happened to Dr. Ford.

"I'm heartened today", she adds.

Beyond the sexual misconduct allegations, Democrats raised questions about Mr. Kavanaugh's temperament and impartiality after he delivered defiant, emotional, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he denounced their party.

Kavanaugh's confirmation had already been all but sealed Friday, when he won the support of key Senate Republican Susan Collins and conservative Democrat Joe Manchin. More than 300 were arrested on Thursday.

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Hundreds of her compatriots chanted and waved anti-Kavanaugh placards - one read "This ain't over" - as dozens of officers pushed them back from the doors and then stood guard.

Judge Kavanaugh will be able to start work quickly, with his attention first turned to arguments at the court on Tuesday on two cases involving prison sentences for repeat offenders.

Regarding the decision not to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation to interview Kavanaugh or Ford, McConnell said, "None of them wanted to do that".

Several polls show that Republican enthusiasm about voting, which had lagged behind, jumped after the Kavanaugh hearing last week. While she was among a handful of Republicans who helped sink Trump's quest to obliterate President Barack Obama's health care law previous year, this time she proved instrumental in delivering a triumph to Trump.

"I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court".

Also on Friday, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski announced she plans to vote no on Kavanaugh. This marks the second time President Trump has placed a conservative justice on the court, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017; it likely means a conservative majority for the court.

Ford's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was broadcast live on television last Thursday and captured the attention of some 20 million people watching on broadcast and cable networks.

He said "radical Democrats" have become "an angry, left-wing mob" and "too unsafe and extreme to govern".

His nomination became a flashpoint in the #MeToo social media movement against sexual harassment and assault.

Repeatedly during the Senate debate, Republicans accused Democrats of staging a "smear" campaign against Kavanaugh to prevent a conservative becoming a Supreme Court justice. But for the past few weeks, the battle was dominated by allegations that he sexually abused women decades ago - accusations he emphatically denied. Gary Peters (D-MI) said on Saturday: "I think we should have focused on the serious allegations that certainly appeared very credible to me that would be our best course of action", CNN reported.