The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice on Saturday, October 6, after multiple women accused him of sexual assault.
The votes — 50 in favor, 48 against — came amid several outbursts from the Senate’s public gallery as the vote commenced, prompting Vice President Mike Pence to call on the sergeant at arms to “restore order in the gallery.”
The 53-year-old’s confirmation had been expected after two key undecided senators, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, announced on Friday, October 4, that they would vote in favor of Kavanaugh.
Collins, a 65-year-old Republican from Maine, said during a 40-plus-minute speech on the Senate floor on Friday that she believes President Donald Trump’s embattled nominee is well-qualified. She concluded, “We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence.”
Minutes later, Manchin, a 71-year-old Democrat from West Virginia, admitted that he has “reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh,” but still considers the former attorney to be “a qualified jurist.”
Senators Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski were two other undecided votes. But by Friday, the Arizona Republican, 55, said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, while the Alaska Republican, 61, said she would go against her party and vote to block the confirmation.
“I believe Brett Kavanaugh is a good man,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor. “It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”
After the vote was all but confirmed on Friday afternoon, Trump, 72, tweeted, “Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting ‘YES’ to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!”
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor on September 28. Later that day, the president ordered the FBI to conduct a weeklong background investigation into the judge. The bureau did not interview Kavanaugh nor his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, which drew criticism on both sides of the aisle.
An emotional Ford, 51, testified on September 27 that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982. He also faced allegations from his Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez and his high school classmate Julie Swetnick. Ramirez claimed to The New Yorker that a drunken Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his penis against her face in 1983. Swetnick alleged that he was present at a party where she was drugged and gang-raped, but said he was not one of her attackers.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied all of the allegations.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing and recovering, and more.
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