A US senator whose vote will be crucial to deciding Brett Kavanaugh's bid for a Supreme Court seat said on Friday she will support the nominee, all but ensuring he will sit on the highest USA court despite accusations of sexual misconduct against him.
Trump took the brutal battle to a new stage earlier Friday when he dismissed female anti-Kavanaugh protesters who have cited their own experiences of sexual assault as "elevator screamers". One GOP senator was absent during the vote because of his daughter's wedding thousands of miles from Washington, D.C.
The Alaska senator specified that her vote wasn't a personal rebuke of the embattled Supreme Court nominee, who she said she believes is a "good man". Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Some wore shirts that said "Confirm Kavanaugh Now", and "I stand with Brett", while others had buttons that said, "Believe Survivors". Roberts administered the constitutional oath and Kennedy the judicial oath.
It represents the culmination of a decades-long project by the conservative movement to construct a like-minded majority on the Supreme Court which has been a defining and unifying cause in successive congressional and presidential campaigns.
Hours later, Kavanaugh was sworn in at a private ceremony.
"The Democrats may not like the outcome of the vote but over 50 senators are expected to be satisfied with his record and confirm this nominee". The session was presided over by Pence.
After Daines voted to end debate on Kavanaugh's confirmation on Friday, he tweeted that he spoke to the nominee on Thursday night and assured him he will be there to vote if he's needed. At one point in the hearing, Kavanaugh blamed a Clinton-revenge conspiracy for the accusations against him.
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed his nomination on party lines, after which his nomination moved to the Senate floor.
Capping a venomous struggle that transfixed Americans when it veered into claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women in the 1980s and his fierce denials, the 53-year-old conservative's nomination was on track for afternoon approval.
- Protesters gathered in Atlanta to march against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh's confirmation leaves the Senate traumatized with Republicans and Democrats as estranged as at any time in recent memory, reflecting the cavernous divides in the country itself during a presidency that has ignited rare political passions.
On Air Force One, Trump told reporters his speech in MS last week, in which he was widely seen to be mocking Christine Blasey Ford, "had such a great impact". Trump tweeted against the "very rude elevator screamers", asserting without evidence that they were "paid professionals". She patted him on the shoulder as they split up.
Brett Kavanaugh will soon don his robes as a justice.
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Stevens, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President Gerald Ford in 1975, retired from the Supreme Court in 2010. The 98-year-old spoke before a crowd of retirees in Boca Raton , according to the Palm Beach Post .
Murkowski told reporters she chose to oppose the procedural measure as she walked to the Senate chamber minutes before the vote.
The first lady rarely talks to reporters, and she chose a historic site to do so, near the Great Sphinx.
Pumping their fists and carrying signs, a few hundred people climbed the east steps of the Capitol for the demonstration.
The four-country trip was a coming out of sorts for the USA first lady on the world stage.
Speaking after the vote, McConnell said the protests against Kavanaugh over the past several weeks have "turned our base on fire". "On average, any woman in the United States Senate, whether they're on Judiciary or any other committee, probably works harder than the average man". A few Democrats sat stone-faced nearby.
Melania Trump concluded her trip to Africa on Saturday by voicing support for her husband's controversial Supreme Court pick and urging people to pay less attention to what she wears.
Ramirez was interviewed last week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding her allegations and a source familiar with the matter said she provided the agents with names of witnesses who she said could corroborate her account.
Collins told fellow senators Friday that Christine Blasey Ford's dramatic testimony last week describing Kavanaugh's alleged 1982 assault was "sincere, painful and compelling".
Murkowski lost a primary battle in 2010 but was re-elected as a write-in candidate.
Moments after Collins finished talking, the only remaining undeclared lawmaker, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said he, too, would vote "yes" in the showdown confirmation roll call. Eleven Democrats voted for Thomas, while two Republicans opposed his confirmation.
Throughout the confirmation fight, Trump had largely stuck by Kavanaugh, who is his second nominee to be confirmed to the high court.
"My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life", Mr Manchin said. "Dr. Ford's goal here was never to impact the process to derail a nomination", attorney Lisa Banks said on All Things Considered. On this, Collins pulled no punches, though she accepted Sen.