In a closely contested 50-48 vote, the US Senate confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court on Saturday. Two senators decided to break ranks and did not vote along party lines. Republican Senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, voted against Kavanguah’s nomination while Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia crossed party lines to vote for the nomination.
The confirmation marks the end of a bitter partisan battle over President Trump’s handpicked nominee that deeply polarised the country.
Kavanaugh will now replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy and is expected to strengthen the conservative right-wing ideology in the highest court of the land. Kennedy was seen as a ‘Centrist’ judge and often perceived as a “swing vote” in various verdicts that split the judiciary along ideological lines.
Kavanaugh, till recently a D.C. Circuit judge, is seen as a strong conservative votary and is widely expected to overturn the Roe vs. Wade abortion case verdict.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which was seen as a matter of formality given the Republican majority in the senate, was thrown into turmoil after a left-leaning academic, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both in high school. The allegations resulted in high drama, with a nationally televised testimony by Ford and Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee garnering huge media attention.
However, an FBI investigation of the allegations giving a clean chit to Kavanaugh persuaded many undecided senators to vote in favour of him, thereby confirming his elevation to the SC bench.
During the confirmation proceedings, the Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the “basic principles of fairness and justice are being tested right here.” He added that, “A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate’s history.”
Democratic Senator Chuck Schume gave a call to Americans to oust Republicans out of office. He said, “To so many millions who are outraged at what happened here, there’s only one answer: Vote. Let the confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh be recorded as a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia’s seat.”
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