UPDATED: Kavanaugh is confirmed: Senate Oks Supreme Court nominee

Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Harnik via The Associated Press, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — 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.

The near party-line vote was 50-48, capping a fight that seized the national conversation after claims emerged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted women three decades ago — which he emphatically denied. Those claims magnified the clash from a routine Supreme Court struggle over judicial ideology into an angrier, more complex jumble of questions about victims’ rights, the presumption of innocence and personal attacks on nominees.

Activists are arrested by Capitol Hill Police officers after occupying the steps on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol as they protest the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Washington | Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, St. George News

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.

The vote gave Trump his second appointee to the court, tilting it further to the right and pleasing conservative voters who might have revolted against GOP leaders had Kavanaugh’s nomination flopped. Democrats hope that the roll call, exactly a month from elections in which House and Senate control are in play, will prompt infuriated women and liberals to stream to the polls to oust Republicans.

In final remarks just before the voting, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said a vote for Kavanaugh was “a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate’s history and turn the page toward a brighter tomorrow.”

Utah Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch praised the confirmation.

“Judge Kavanaugh is a good man,” Lee said in a press statement. “He is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. I was pleased to vote in favor of cloture and was honored to vote for his confirmation.”

Hatch’s press statement reads as follows:

Confirming Brett Kavanaugh today to the United States Supreme Court is one of the most important things we have done in my 42 years in the Senate. Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation sent a strong message to the country that civility, process, and the integrity of our institutions matter. While the American people will not soon forget the unfair and unjust behavior that led us to one of the Senate’s lowest points in decades, today we took an important step in overcoming the politics of personal destruction. Brett Kavanaugh will be a great Supreme Court Justice, and I am so very glad to have been able to help confirm him as one of my final acts as a US Senator.

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York looked ahead to November, appealing to voters beyond the Senate chamber: “Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box.”

Rep. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, confronting a tough re-election race next month in a state that Trump won in 2016 by a landslide, was the sole Democrat to vote for Kavanaugh. Every voting Republican backed the 53-year-old conservative judge.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for the final vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 | Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite, St. George News

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to oppose the nominee, voted “present,” offsetting the absence of Kavanaugh supporter Steve Daines of Montana, who was attending his daughter’s wedding. That rare procedural maneuver left Kavanaugh with the same two-vote margin he’d have had if Murkowski and Daines had both voted.

It was the closest roll call to confirm a justice since 1881, when Stanley Matthews was approved by 24-23, according to Senate records.

Murkowski said Friday that Kavanaugh was “a good man” but his “appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable.” Republicans hold only a 51-49 Senate majority and therefore had little support to spare.

The outcome, telegraphed Friday when the final undeclared senators revealed their views, was devoid of the shocks that had come almost daily since Christine Blasey Ford said last month that an inebriated Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a 1982 high school get-together.

Since then, the country watched agape at electric moments. These included the emergence of two other accusers; an unforgettable Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which a composed Ford and a seething Kavanaugh told their diametrically opposed stories, and a truncated FBI investigation that the agency said showed no corroborating evidence and Democrats lambasted as a White House-shackled farce.

Activists chant as they are arrested by Capitol Hill Police officers after occupying the steps on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol as they protest the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 | Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, St. George News

All the while, crowds of demonstrators — mostly Kavanaugh opponents — ricocheted around the Capitol’s grounds and hallways, raising tensions, chanting slogans, interrupting lawmakers’ debates, confronting senators and often getting arrested.

Trump weighed in Saturday morning on behalf of the man he nominated in July. “Big day for America!” he tweeted.

Democrats said Kavanaugh would push the court too far, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump should the president encounter legal problems from the special counsel’s investigations into Russian connections with his 2016 presidential campaign. And they said Kavanaugh’s record and fuming testimony at a now-famous Senate Judiciary Committee hearing showed he lacked the fairness, temperament and even honesty to become a justice.

But the fight was defined by the sexual assault accusations. And it was fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and Trump’s unyielding support of his nominee and occasional mocking of Kavanaugh’s accusers.

About 100 anti-Kavanaugh protesters climbed the Capitol’s East Steps as the vote approached, pumping fists and waving signs. U.S. Capitol Police began arresting some of them. Hundreds of other demonstrators watched from behind barricades. Protesters have roamed Capitol Hill corridors and grounds daily, chanting, “November is coming,” ”Vote them out” and “We believe survivors.”

On Friday, in the moment that made clear Kavanaugh would prevail, Collins delivered a speech saying that Ford’s Judiciary Committee telling of the alleged 1982 assault was “sincere, painful and compelling.” But she also said the FBI had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ford had provided.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, heads to the Senate floor for the vote on the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 | Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, St. George News

“We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy,” said Collins, perhaps the chamber’s most moderate Republican.

Manchin used an emailed statement to announce his support for Kavanaugh moments after Collins finished talking. Manchin, the only Democrat supporting the nominee, faces a competitive re-election race next month in a state Trump carried in 2016 by 42 percentage points.

Manchin expressed empathy for sexual assault victims. But he said that after factoring in the FBI report, “I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution.”

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly battled with Trump and will retire in January, said he, too, planned to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Vice President Mike Pence planned to be available in case his tie-breaking vote was needed.

In the procedural vote Friday that handed Republicans their crucial initial victory, senators voted 51-49 to limit debate, defeating Democratic efforts to scuttle the nomination with endless delays.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he leaves the White House, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Washington, en route to Topeka, Kansas | Associated Press photo by Jacquelyn Martin, St. George News

When Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, Democrats leapt to oppose him, saying that past statements and opinions showed he’d be a threat to the Roe v. Wade case that assured the right to abortion. They said he also seemed too ready to rule for Trump in a possible federal court case against the president.

Yet Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation seemed unfettered until Ford and two other women emerged with sexual misconduct allegations from the 1980s.

Kavanaugh would replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was a swing vote on issues such as abortion, campaign finance and same-sex marriage.

Written by ALAN FRAM and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press.

Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Matthew Daly, Padmananda Rama, Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report. St. George News contributed to this report.

Update 2:35 p.m. Report updated with quotes from Lee and Hatch.

Update 2:15 p.m. Report updated with news of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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22 Comments

  • Carpe Diem October 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    SAY HIS NAME:

    SUPREME COURT JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH!

    • tazzman October 6, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Brett. Kavanaugh.

      Okay. What do I win? All-expenses paid vacation to St. George? Ride on the St. George bumper cars otherwise known as the city streets? Fine dining at Dick’s Cafe?

      • mesaman October 6, 2018 at 10:08 pm

        You win what you deserved; NOTHING!!

  • Kilroywashere October 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Peep, peep, peep… “a future” ☆☆☆☆, mr tazmanian devil. Back to hibernation. Dont tell frozen veggie I came back from the dead. Pretty please. Still looking for that poker game in the sky. Great day for America. & B&F , I was right. Did we not agree? G.M.T.A. turn that screwdriver ladybug. See ya.

    • Happy Commenter October 6, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      Frozen veggie will come out and make an asparagus out of himself, just give it time!

      • KR567 October 7, 2018 at 7:54 am

        Oh yeah this is going to be good… lol !

    • bikeandfish October 6, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      Hopefully you saw my explanation. Sorry for any confusion earlier this week.

  • KR567 October 6, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Supreme Court Justice. Brett Kavanaugh ! have a nice day

  • Pa Triot October 6, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    SUPREME COURT JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH!

  • Happy Commenter October 6, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    I’ll just leave this here…..
    On Friday, the latest Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll was unveiled, and it showed that a majority — 51 percent — of likely voters approve of the job Trump is doing.

    While that isn’t exactly an earth-shattering figure, it’s higher than former President Barack Obama’s approval rating at the same point in his presidency.

  • bikeandfish October 6, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    The Senate should be ashamed of allowing such critical votes to made along party lines. We need to return to traditional rules of supermajority votes on judges if we have any desire to maintain trust in the SCOTUS. It started with the democrats under Obama and then the Republicans took it the final step.

    But I fear we have fully undermined all branches of the federal government now when it comes to trust by citizens. Its all hyperpartisan now.

    • Redbud October 8, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Don’t act so surprised. We all knew that Kavanaugh was innocent, and that he would be confirmed. He is an excellent choice for the supreme court, and he will protect our rights. It was easy to see that Ford was a crazed lunatic just from watching the way she spoke.

  • justsaying October 7, 2018 at 11:03 am

    A Supreme Court nominee should have zero issues in his past. Perhaps a Waldo style book nerd that does nothing more than read and educate, over and over. Nobody will look at this guy and forget the drama that came with him. You know him and Clarence are going to be buddy buddy for sure.

    • Happy Commenter October 7, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Yes and we all know who had the real “issues” and it wasn’t Kavanaugh! That blue wave is quickly becoming a trickle.

  • Red2Blue310 October 7, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Saw the whole thing. A farse.

  • 42214 October 7, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Wait until RBG forgets to wake up some morning and Amy Comey Barrett is nominated for the court. The left will go more insane than they aleady are.

    • iceplant October 7, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      And if you load the Supreme Court with nothing but right-wing trash you will have a full-on civil war.
      Is that what you want? Because I can assure you, the right will lose their arse just like they did in the last civil war.

      • Happy Commenter October 7, 2018 at 6:14 pm

        The half dozen or so of you would lose pretty quick…

      • 42214 October 7, 2018 at 7:28 pm

        Oh yeah, Antifa, #Metoo, and Code Pink would really be a formidable foe.

      • Happy Commenter October 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm

        Certainly not the healthiest plant in the greenhouse…shallow roots. narrow leaves…

  • commonsense October 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    It was never about Kavanaugh’s morals but rather his politics. His only crime was being conservative. As a justice of the SCOTUS, he will use the constitution as the standard.
    Roe v wade is safe but allowing department heads and lower courts to make laws will stop.
    No more appellate court decisions in San Francisco to limit the executive branch. Sorry libs but you have it coming.

  • KR567 October 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Hey this is to funny LOL ! notice who didn’t show up to post a comment ….!

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