Published: Sun, October 07, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Protesters gather at Capitol ahead of Senate vote on Kavanaugh

Protesters gather at Capitol ahead of Senate vote on Kavanaugh

Hundreds of protesters in and around the U.S. Capitol - many of whom were women - were arrested in the past week.

Trump watched the vote on a large-screen television tuned to Fox News in a wood-paneled cabin on the plane. Capitol police dragged some screaming protesters out of the chamber.

Republicans control the Senate by a meager 51-49 margin, and announcements of support Friday from Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME, along with Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, locked in the needed votes.

Unpopular overall and a factor for the midterms: Even before the sexual misconduct allegations against him, Kavanaugh had been polling as one of the least popular Supreme Court nominees in recent times However, a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that amid the Kavanaugh controversy, the gap in the enthusiasm between Republicans and Democrats for the midterms has closed. The timely topic of Brett Kavanaugh came up (the interview happened before he was confirmed) and her Donald Trump's tweeting habits. It offers a little insight into how wavering senators feel about advancing his nomination, though senators could potentially vote no for the final confirmation after voting yes in the procedural vote.

The only party dissenters were Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had meant to vote no, and Democrat Joe Manchin, who voted yes. Democrats consider Yoder one of the most endangered Republicans in the House, and see a prime pickup opportunity in his suburban Kansas City district.

Kavanaugh, shown here testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, has become the latest US Supreme Court justice.

"I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved Constitution", he told supporters after signing Kavanaugh's commission aboard Air Force One.

Kavanaugh will be sworn in on Saturday "so that he can begin to participate in the work of the Court immediately", according to a statement on the Supreme Court's website.

There are no shortage of cases that Kavanaugh could wind up hearing on the Supreme Court where questions about his political preferences would arise.

"Took a week - but that extra week was a great thing", he said, referring to the supplemental FBI background investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh's confirmation had already been all but sealed Friday, when he won the support of key Senate Republican Susan Collins and conservative Democrat Joe Manchin.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to oppose Kavanaugh, said it was time for the Senate - and Americans - to "heal" after such a divisive few weeks.

Meanwhile, Trump - himself no stranger to sexual misconduct allegations - praised the Senate for confirming his "GREAT NOMINEE" via Twitter.

Adding to the drama, women protesters in the Senate gallery shouting, "Shame on you", briefly interrupted the start of the final confirmation vote on Saturday afternoon.

The protest comes as Kavanaugh is preparing to be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. That balanced out the absence without affecting the outcome, and gave Kavanaugh the same two-vote margin he'd have received had both lawmakers voted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Collins is a "top priority" when he was asked Saturday if she could be targeted by Democrats in 2020.

Still, it was a close-run thing: Kavanaugh's nomination was almost derailed by Christine Blasey Ford's allegations that the judge assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s, which sparked uproar and forced Republicans to delay the confirmation vote for a week to allow time for a supplemental Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.

In fact, Ms. Blasey Ford's account has been rebuffed by three people she says were at the party where she was assaulted. "I have to do what I think is right, and that's what I did", she told WCSH-TV.

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