After one of the most contentious confirmation processes in Supreme Court history, Brett Kavanaugh finally won over the Senate this weekend.
Just hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a 50-48 vote, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy on Saturday in a private ceremony with his wife, Ashley, and daughters, Liza and Margaret.
A “somber” vote
In what was described by the New York Times as a “somber” proceeding, Kavanaugh earned the votes of just 50 of 100 Senators on Saturday amid cries from a “chorus of women in the Senate’s public galleries” of “Shame!” Of those 50 affirmative votes was Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the nominee.
Other senators who were described as “key votes” ahead of Saturday were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who announced her “yes” vote on Friday in a widely viewed speech before the Senate and the nation, and fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK), who, according to Fox News, “was a ‘no,’ but voted ‘present’ as a courtesy to Sen. Steve Daines,” a Republican from Montana who otherwise may have had to return to Washington and miss all or part of his daughter’s Saturday wedding in Montana for the vote.
Sen. Jeff Flake — an Arizona Republican who was widely thought to be a shoe-in “yes” for Kavanaugh until he called for an investigation into Kavanaugh a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault — also voted affirmatively for the nominee. Flake’s request was granted on Sept. 28 by President Donald Trump in the form of a “limited” FBI investigation that was set to last no longer than a week but that was completed early.
Senate Republicans said the subsequent FBI report, which has not been released to the public, “yield[ed] no new information or additional corroborating information” about the allegations lodged against Kavanaugh by at least women, including Ford, according to CBS. But Democrats like Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) were unhappy with the FBI’s findings.
“The most notable part of this report is what’s not in it,” Feinstein said ahead of Saturday’s vote. And with hundreds of protesters lining the streets in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and Democrat leaders like Feinstein rallying their base ahead of November’s midterms, Kavanaugh’s dissenters apparently don’t plan on stopping their fight against Trump’s second Supreme Court pick any time soon.
“The American people are raising their voices to a deafening roar today,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said on Saturday. “We will not stop marching, we will not stop fighting, and we will vote on Election Day for leaders who share our values.”
A confirmation celebration
While Democrats have since turned their sights to removing Kavanaugh from the high court, Republicans like President Trump have celebrated Kavanaugh’s win and lamented the difficult last several weeks that the now-associate justice has endured.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2018
“What he and his family endured at the hands of Democrats is unthinkable,” Trump said at a campaign-style rally in Topeka, KS, on Saturday after calling Kavanaugh’s confirmation a “tremendous victory.”
Kavanaugh is expected to participate in a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday and could begin hearing cases as early as Tuesday.