Brett Kavanaugh Sworn In as 114th Supreme Court Justice

08 October, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • KLEPONIS  AFP  Getty Images

The bitterly polarized U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday to join the Supreme Court, delivering an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country's cultural, gender and political divides.

Democrats said Kavanaugh would push the court too far, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump should the president encounter legal problems from the special counsel's investigations into Russian connections with his 2016 presidential campaign. "What I did was entirely consistent with what the history of Senate has been in that situation going back to 1880", McConnell replied.

Trump, seeking a legacy as the president who put a strongly conservative stamp on the court, said on Saturday before the vote that Kavanaugh would do "great, great" job there. "The damage done today will be enduring". Kavanaugh forcefully and tearfully denied the accusations in a fiery opening statement and was openly hostile toward Democrats as they questioned him about the alleged assault and his drinking habits.

Even as he was being sworn in inside the Supreme Court, scores of people protested across the street at the Capitol.

"I made the tweet, I later elaborated that this wasn't where my head was", Rice said Sunday.

But the bitter confirmation fight appears to have deepened the fissures in Congress as lawmakers and their supporters prepare to head out on the campaign trail.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, deflected questions Sunday about whether Democrats should pursue impeachment if the party takes control of the House in the midterm elections.

But how reaction to the Kavanaugh affair will ultimately play out remains to be seen. "The partisanship he showed was astounding".

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McConnell told The Associated Press in an interview that the "mob" of opposition - confronting senators in the hallways and at their homes - united his narrowly divided GOP majority as Kavanaugh's confirmation teetered and will give momentum to his party this fall.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he had never been so disturbed as by the events of recent weeks.

"Republicans are the party of law and order and justice". Republicans previous year successfully stalled the process, meaning it fell to Mr Trump, not Barack Obama, to nominate the new justice.

It drew the line under a bruising nomination process defined by harrowing testimony from a woman who says Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were teenagers - and by his fiery rebuttal. "I do believe that she was assaulted". A crowd-funded campaign has raised millions of dollars for Collins's eventual challenger, while former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin suggested on Twitter that she could face Sen.Lisa Murkowski, the sole Republican opponent of Kavanaugh's confirmation.

That investigation, Democrats have said, could well lead to impeachment proceedings.

She demurred, but then added: "I'm focused like a laser beam on the elections", predicting angry voters would "go to the polls and vote differently".

"A pox on both houses for the way this was conducted", Ohio Governor John Kasich, a moderate Republican, told CNN's "State of the Union".

"Sometimes you can have a short-term win, and (in) the long term you have to wonder about the soul of our country".

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