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Brett Kavanaugh sworn in as Supreme Court judge after winning Senate vote by 50 to 48

  • Donald Trump jubilant after winning battle
  • Brett Kavanaugh sworn in during private ceremony
  • Republicans hope for midterm "Brett bounce"
  • This is why women are angry

Brett Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in as a Supreme Court justice on Saturday night soon after the bitterly polarised  Senate confirmed him by two votes.

His confirmation tilts the bench decisively to the Right, handing Donald Trump a major political victory after a battle that exposed America’s cultural, gender and political divides.

He was sworn in during a private ceremony at the court building, even as protesters tried to storm its doors.

Earlier the US senate voted 50 to 48 to confirm his nomination, ending one of the most bitter confirmation processes in recent US history after Mr Kavanaugh had been accused of sexual misconduct by three women, which he categorically denied. Two senators, one on each side of the debate, agreed to sit out the vote because of a schedule clash. 

There is now a majority of conservative judges on the Supreme Court – something Republicans have sought for decades. Mr Kavanaugh, 53, will be appointed for life. 

It could have a profound impact on US society for decades, potentially influencing where the court comes down on issues such as gay rights and abortion. 

Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine and a single Democrat – Joe Manchin of West Virginia – voted yes in the end after weeks of wavering. 

One Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, had announced she would vote no. But she was one of the two senators who did not cast a vote for either side, helping out a colleague who needed to attend his daughter’s wedding. 

Female protesters outside of the Supreme Court were seen crying and hugging each other in consolation as news of the final result filtered out. However Republicans were jubilant.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said after the vote passed: "This is a good day for America and an important day for the Senate. We stood up for the presumption of innocence.

"We refused to be intimidated by the mob of people who were coming after Republican members in their homes, in the halls."

Mr Trump tweeted: 

On Saturday afternoon, protesters had descended on Capitol Hill in a last-minute attempt to sway senators not to confirm Mr Kavanaugh. 

Pumping their fists and carrying signs, a few hundred people climbed the east steps of the Capitol for the demonstration chanting "November is coming!" and "vote them out!"

A much larger crowd of protesters watched on from behind a barricade. In between, a line of Capitol police officers stood with plastic handcuffs clipped to their belts.

Profile | Brett Kavanaugh

On Friday, a handful of senators who had been wavering for weeks on a decision made announcements on what they would do in the final, binding vote. 

Mr Flake, who had delayed the vote by a week over his demand for an FBI investigation, was first, telling reporters that he would back Mr Kavanaugh “unless something big change”. 

Then came Ms Collins, who spoke for more than 40 minutes from the Senate floor explaining her decision in an address that was 4,000 words long. 

“Certain fundamental legal principles – about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness – do bear on my thinking, and I cannot abandon them,” Ms Collins said. 

Ms Collins said that “we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness”, eventually ending with the words: “Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Minutes later Mr Manchin, who faces a tough battle for re-election next month in a state won comfortably by Mr Trump in 2016, released a statement saying he would also vote yes. 

Speaking to reporters as protesters shouted chants against his decision, Mr Manchin said: “I had to deal with the facts I had in front of me.”

The Kavanaugh family at ceremony

 

What does 'Lady Justice' make of it all?

 

Brett Kavanaugh sworn in amid protests

So that’s it. Brett Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in during a private ceremony – with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding – at the Supreme Court building, across the street from the Capitol, even as protesters chanted outside.

Trump mocks protest size

 Back on one of his favourite subjects….

Protesters gather at Supreme Court

Protesters started the afternoon focussed on the Senate, where the confirmation vote was taking place. They are now pushing up to the entrance of the Supreme Court.

Why women are angry

Claire Cohen, our Women’s Editor, has this on why women are so angry at the outcome of this struggle:

You can read more here

Trump: Accuser named the wrong man

President Donald Trump said he was "100 percent" certain that Christine Blasey Ford named the wrong person when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in testimony during his Supreme Court nomination hearings.

“This is one of the reasons I chose him is because there is no one with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh. He is an outstanding person and I’m very honored to have chosen him,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One while flying to a campaign rally in Kansas. "We’re very honoured that he was able to withstand this horrible, horrible attack by the Democrats."

Feelings raw

 

Brett Kavanaugh is on his way to swearing in ceremony

There’s no hanging around. Brett Kavanaugh will be sworn in tonight so that he can get straight on with the job, according to statement released by the court. 

Kavanaugh's old school issues triumphant tweet

 

How will this impact the midterms? 

They are less than a month away. We took a look at how this brutal confirmation could impact congressional races  over here. 

These are the opening paragraphs:

Republicans are hoping a “Brett bounce” created by the furious battle over Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick can help them exceed expectations at next month’s midterm elections.

Polls have suggested a recent surge in enthusiasm from Mr Trump’s base as the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to America’s top court became increasingly heated. 

In July, Democrats had a 10-point lead over the Republicans for how many of their supporters saw the midterms as “very important”, according to one survey. That gap is now down to two points. 

It indicates how the Supreme Court fight has fired up Republicans and could result in more of them turning out on voting day – a crucial factor for who will win the congressional races.

In particular it will help in 10 Senate races where Democrats are attempting to hold onto their seats in states won comfortably by Mr Trump in the 2016 election, often by double figures. 

“Prior to the Kavanaugh hearing, the intensity level was really on the Democratic side,” Kevin McCarthy, a leading Republican congressman, told Fox News recently. “But in the last week there has been a fundamental shift."

Mitch McConnell says the row over Kavanaugh's confirmation will 'blow over' 

The Republican leader in the Senate, who has helped steer this nomination through pretty choppy waters, is clearly pretty pleased. 

Speaking moments ago, Mr McConnell said: "This is a good day for America and an important day for the Senate. We stood up for the presumption of innocence

"We refused to be intimidated by the mob of people who were coming after Republican members in their homes, in the halls."

Asked about the bitter confirmation battle, Mr McConnell said "these things always blow over" and added later: "We’ve had other low points, We always get past them."

White House responds

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman:  "The White House applauds the Senate for confirming President Trump’s nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Later today, the President will sign his commission of appointment and he will be officially sworn in.” 

Donald Trump is happy

 

SENATE VOTES 50-48 TO CONFIRM KAVANAUGH

The US Senate just voted 50 yes to 48 no. That means he has been confirmed. 

Two senators, one on each side of the debate, agreed to sit out the vote because of a schedule clash. 

The long, bitter battle is over. 

VOTING BEGINS

Here we go. 

Protesters disrupt proceeding, shouting from the Senate's gallery

It is hard to pick up what they are saying, but it is clear they are protesting against Mr Kavanaugh’s appointment. 

There is a lot of shouting. Mike Pence, the US vice president, is overseeing the hearing. 

Now Mitch McConnell, the top Republican senator, is speaking  

He praises Mr Kavanaugh as a “meticulous and dedicated public servant”. 

Mr McConnell points to the FBI’s seven investigations done into Mr Kavanaugh ahead of past judicial and political appointments. The seventh was this week.

He says “no evidence whatsoever to corroborate any prior misconduct” was found, adding that instead the checks have backed up Mr Kavanaugh’s sterling character. 

“He will make the Senate and the country proud,” Mr McConnell says, adding: “He unquentionalby deserves confirmation.” 

Donald Trump speaks on 'exciting' vote ahead

"I’m really looking forward to the vote. He will be a great justice to the Supreme Court," the US president said. 

"I think he’s going to make us all very proud. I also feel very strongly that, in the end, the process, it was really unattractive, but the extra week was something that I think was really good." 

"A lot of very positive things happened in the last week. It didn’t look that way, but in the end that’s what happened." 

"It’s a very exciting time."

Here are some photos from the protests on Capitol Hill

Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrat senator, is speaking

He says that Mr Kavanaugh “doesn’t belong on the nation’s highest court” and hits out at the Republicans for forcing through his nomination. 

Mr Schumer lists reasons why. “He believes that presidents should not be subject to investigations of any kind while in office”, he says of Mr Kavanaugh. 

Mr Schumer claims Mr Kavanaugh has “misled” senators and is an “extreme partisan”, citing his emotional testimony denying allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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