Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Kavanaugh sworn in as 114th Supreme Court justice

Sen. Lisa Murkowski a Republican from Alaska explains her decision to oppose the nomination of Kavanaugh Sen. Lisa Murkowski a Republican from Alaska explains her decision to oppose the nomination of Kavanaugh
Gerardo Duncan | 07 October, 2018, 11:02

Susan Collins of ME said 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.

Susan Collins said in her lengthy and decisive floor speech Friday afternoon.

The Senate's vote on Saturday (October 6) was 50 to 48 - the narrowest margin since 1881, the Washington Post points out - and came in almost precisely down party lines.

The bitterly polarized U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday to join the Supreme Court, delivering an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country's cultural, gender and political divides.

Acrimonious to the end, the battle featured a climactic roll call that was interrupted several times by protesters in the Senate Gallery before Capitol Police removed them.

After a week of deep anxiety in Washington and nationwide, tensions surged about Kavanaugh, who stands accused of sexual misconduct. Others said they believed Ford was sexually assaulted by someone, but that it couldn't have been Kavanaugh. According to Ford, the judge groped her and tried to remove her clothing at a party when they were both teenagers.

Hundreds of protesters against Kavanaugh gathered on the grounds of the Capitol and at the Supreme Court. They chanted, "Vote them out!" "I have voted no".

Furthermore, the dispute over Kavanaugh has added fuel to campaigning for the elections in November when Democrats will try to take control of Congress from the Republicans.

The accusations against Kavanaugh energized the #MeToo social media movement that emerged after high-profile accusations of sexual assault and harassment by men in politics, the media and the entertainment industry.

With Kavanaugh taking a seat on the bench, the court is now majority conservative.

The bitter duel between Republicans and Democrats over Kavanaugh is now likely to be prolonged as a motivating issue in the midterm elections in four weeks and will trigger recriminations and political reverberations that endure for years to come.

The same poll shows that Republicans closed a 10-point enthusiasm deficit with Democrats from July down to just two points.

Earlier Saturday, the Senate voted 50-48, mostly along party lines, to confirm Kavanaugh to the nation's highest court. Mr. Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and the man he's replacing, retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, as fellow Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan looked on two conservatives and two liberals.

In an unusual weekend session, the U.S. Senate advances to a final vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

After touting the economy and unemployment, and bringing gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach and House candidate Steve Watkins on stage, Trump returned to Democrats, attacking potential 2020 opponents and the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including one riff where he appeared to imagine beating up Joe Biden.

The Kavanaugh case before the Senate Judicial Committee seemed a throw-back to the 1991 confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, when he faced sexual misconduct allegations - but only that he made romantic overtures to a subordinate and told her dirty jokes.

"One of the reasons I chose him is because there is nobody with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh", Trump said.

"I applaud the Senate and its Republican leadership for staying the course and maintaining a fair process that validates the presumption of innocence in our society and for not allowing rumor, slander and unsubstantiated claims to be the determining basis by which a qualified person is allowed to serve".

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