US Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday (Oct 7) hailed the confirmation of divisive judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as his "proudest moment" in the upper house as the warring Republicans and Democrats turned their focus to the crucial midterm elections.
Vice-President Mike Pence presided, his potential tie-breaking vote unnecessary.
Kavanaugh will help take the highest USA court to the right, perhaps for many years, and his confirmation is a bitter blow to Democrats already chafing at Republican control of the White House and both chambers of the US Congress.
The final vote on Kavanaugh came amid raucous protests in the Senate chamber itself and far beyond.
Two other women accused him in the media of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh has strongly denied the allegations.
Kavanaugh's nomination sparked protest across the Capitol, which continued Saturday.
"They're going to go to the polls and vote differently".
"One of the biggest tragedies of this past week was to watch the president of the United States publicly mocking and ridiculing Dr. Ford", the senator said, calling it a "low mark in his presidency". Kavanaugh's defense of himself was partisan beyond any precedent for a Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh is now Trump's second nominee to be seated on the high court, and the Senate has approved more circuit court judges this session of Congress than any other. He clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who recently retired amid sexual harassment allegations, and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, whose seat he will now occupy.
Kavanaugh's nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.
Republicans argue that disgust with Senate Democrats and protesters has driven a voter backlash. "My voting record clearly shows that".
Kavanaugh's confirmation appeared to be in trouble a week ago, when three Republican senators, along with Democrats, demanded a supplemental FBI investigation into allegations brought against the nominee by women, including psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford and his former Yale University classmate Debbie Ramirez.
The president will host Kavanaugh at the White House for a public swearing-in ceremony today, following Saturday's formal oath-taking at the high court.
Shortly before the vote, Trump said Kavanaugh "will be a great justice of the Supreme Court". "In fact, Dr. Ford's best friend said in two separate interviews that she had no recollection of any night like that, and that she did not even know Brett Kavanaugh".
Protesters crowded the US Capitol's hallways for days, shouted from the Senate gallery during the vote, and demonstrated on the steps of the Supreme Court, chanting slogans like "Hey hey, ho ho, Kavanaugh has got to go".
The embattled Kavanaugh was poised to win Senate confirmation later on Saturday, weathering sexual misconduct accusations and criticism of his character and temperament.
McConnell's latest ― and convenient ― reason for blocking Garland leaves wiggle room for Trump to potentially nominate another Supreme Court justice in 2020 if an opening occurs then, despite the senator's rejection of Garland during the 2016 presidential election year.
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