The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Saturday afternoon, likely cementing a conservative majority on the court for a generation and bringing to an end months of bitter partisan feuding marked by shocking allegations of sexual assault and vehement and angry denials from the nominee.
The final vote was 50-48 and interrupted several times by protesters as senators sat silent at their desks for the formal roll call vote.
“I do not consent, where’s my representation,” one yelled.
The confirmation marks a major victory for President Donald Trump, who will soon be able to take credit for appointing two conservative justices to the Supreme Court during his relatively brief time in office.
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.
In the end, Republicans were able to use their monopoly on political power on Capitol Hill and the White House to muscle through the confirmation, which was nearly derailed by Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that the judge assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh will replace retired associate justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, who has been the swing vote in some of the most far reaching decisions on issues like LGBT rights, abortion, affirmative action and other issues in recent years.
His arrival on the bench offers the prospect of decades of conservative jurisprudence. It ensures that Trump’s influence, and that of a Republican stranglehold on power in Washington since the 2016 election, will endure long after current GOP leaders have left the scene.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the nomination “one of the saddest moments in the history of the Senate,” and said, “this chapter will be a flashing red warning light of what to avoid.”
Republicans “conducted one of the least transparent, least fair, most biased processes in Senate history, slanting the table from the very beginning to produce their desired result,” he added. [CNN]