Brett Kavanaugh Confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court
After weeks of a tense confirmation battle, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon, in a 50-to-48 vote. The vote followed party lines, with two exceptions: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) was absent for his daughter's wedding. In honor of his absence, Murkowski withdrew her vote.
Even as Vice President Mike Pence, president of the Senate, called the roll for the vote, protesters shouted from outside the chamber.
Watch Pence declare the results of the vote below.
At the confirmation, Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, declared, "Judge Kavanaugh has been tested by fire and proved himself to be everything and more than we had expected. He will be another great justice."
Evangelical Christian author Eric Metaxas referred to the loud protesters as "demons." "The demons shrieking in the Senate Gallery know their time is short," he quipped.
"History was made today as Brett Kavanaugh overcame an unimaginable smear campaign to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court," Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins declared in a statement following the vote. "For the first time in decades, this nomination — his nomination — brought with it the reality of returning to a truly constitutionalist court. Many on the Left couldn't stand such a thought. And for that, he and his family have paid a tremendous price."
Kavanaugh will replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, long considered the crucial swing "fifth vote" on the Court. Liberals fear, and conservatives hope, that this new justice will enable the Court to strike down the Roe v. Wade (1973) decision that legalized abortion. If this decision is overturned, each state could pass its own laws on abortion.
Kavanaugh, a judge on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, clerked for Justice Kennedy and has written dozens of opinions cited by the Supreme Court. His rulings curbed the administrative state and upheld religious freedom and the Second Amendment.
Many Democrats announced their opposition to President Donald Trump's nominee immediately after he came forward with Kavanaugh's name. Democrats interrupted the regular order of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, from the very first moments onward.
Democratic senators leapt over one another in attempting to vilify Kavanaugh in those hearings. More than 200 protesters were arrested during those opening hearings. That was, of course, just the beginning.
Amid all of this, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) received a letter with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford, requesting anonymity. Feinstein met privately with Kavanaugh many times, but she refused to bring up Ford's allegations. Only after the hearings did she come forward with the allegations, stalling the confirmation.
The Ford allegations unleashed a firestorm. The nominee emphatically denied Ford's allegations. Each of Ford's named eyewitnesses also denied any knowledge of a party involving Ford and Kavanaugh.
Even so, Democrats called for Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination. They boldly proclaimed that they "believe survivors," despite the lack of corroborating evidence or eyewitness testimony.
The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee launched an investigation, offering many options for Ford to testify about her allegations: publicly or privately, in California or in Washington, D.C. The Committee collected testimony from eyewitnesses and various other sources, on the penalty of felony.
Meanwhile, Democrats were talking to the press, refusing to help with the investigation. They demanded a "nonpartisan" FBI investigation — despite Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) rightly pointing out in 1991 that the FBI does not come to conclusions about Supreme Court nominees, that is the Senate's job.
When a public hearing was finally scheduled, liberals attacked Republicans for choosing sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to ask Ford questions, to avoid the situation of eleven Republican men asking a woman questions about sexual assault. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Before the Kavanaugh vote Saturday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) attacked this move as if Republicans were putting Ford on trial.
Ford's testimony moved Americans. But so did that of Judge Kavanaugh, who defended himself against the allegations, nearly breaking into tears describing his daughter's decision to pray for his accuser. About 200 women had testified to Kavanaugh's high moral character, including two women who dated him. Kavanaugh coaches his daughter's basketball team, and he literally made history for hiring the most female clerks on the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Even so, protesters voiced their belief in "survivors," even as the number of allegations rose to five (including two laughable ones), and decreased shortly thereafter. Kavanaugh was even accused of being involved in gang rapes, in an accusation pressed by Michael Avenatti and recently withdrawn.
Protesters took over the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday, with hundreds arrested. Even more continued to protest on Saturday, storming the U.S. Capitol Building and the U.S. Supreme Court Building.
These protests became personal against Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Democrats have argued that Kavanaugh does not deserve the presumption that he is innocent until proven guilty, seemingly thumbing their noses at one of the central legal principles of Western jurisprudence.
Earlier this week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced her opposition to Kavanaugh, even while Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced they would vote yes.
The vitriol against Kavanaugh, his firm self-defense, and even the defense Trump offered for him, have riled up Republicans going into the mid-term elections in November.
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