Kavanaugh sworn in as new Supreme Justice after somber Senate vote

Senate near Kavanaugh approval after epic struggle

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that a Republican Senate would take up a nomination to the Supreme Court made by President Donald Trump in 2020, the next presidential election year.

Joe Manchin of West Virginia despite his help confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

"I would say if we're talking about the Supreme Court and Judge Kavanaugh, I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court", Mrs. Trump said while speaking to reporters in Egypt during a solo global trip to Africa.

"I want to thank the mob, because they've done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base", McConnell said in an interview shortly after the final vote.

McConnell blocked Democratic President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016, arguing at the time that voters should have a say in the matter in that year's election.

Minority Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Kavanaugh did not belong on the bench as he had "obscured his views to the American people", "repeatedly misled the Senate" and delivered one of the "bitterest and most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee".

In his first tweet after the vote, Trump said he told Republican Senator Steve Daines it was alright to miss the vote for his daughter's wedding back home in Montana.

Trump, flying to Kansas for a political rally, flashed a thumbs-up gesture when the tally was announced and praised Kavanaugh for being "able to withstand this disgusting, terrible attack by the Democrats". That balanced out the absence without affecting the outcome, and gave Kavanaugh the same two-vote margin he'd have received had both lawmakers voted.

But the saga - fueled by ugly accusations and counter-claims aired at nationally televised hearings, followed by an 11th-hour Federal Bureau of Investigation probe to address the assault allegations - has inflamed political passions.

Trump goes full conspiracy theorist, blames Kavanaugh protestors on George Soros
The accusations came just ahead of a procedural vote in the Senate on Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual misconduct. Saturday's vote will be the culmination of the divisive events of Kavanaugh's nomination.

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Protesters gather at Capitol ahead of Senate vote on Kavanaugh
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader, branded Mr Kavanaugh an "extreme partisan" with an "injudicious demeanour". Earlier Trump tweeted his support for Kavanaugh and praised crowds gathered at the Capitol to support the nominee.

Trump said Murkowski would be punished in her next primary by her Kavanaugh no vote but McConnell didn't go that far.

"It is disgusting!" one user wrote. Those accusations transformed the clash from a routine struggle over judicial ideology into an angry jumble of questions about victims' rights, the presumption of innocence and personal attacks on nominees.

Collins supported an additional FBI background check into the accusations, which stoked speculation that she might then break with Republicans and vote against Kavanaugh's nomination, but the results of that investigation - along with Bush's calls - paved the way for her support Friday.

"We always know everyone is acting in good faith", she said."We have lunch all the time and talk about our families".

The only party dissenters were Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had meant to vote no, and Democrat Joe Manchin, who voted yes. McConnell called Kavanaugh "among the very best our nation has to offer." Sen.

Fifty senators voted in favour, with 48 against, to appoint 53-year-old Mr Kavanaugh to the court for life.

Sen. Dick Durbin questions Brett Kavanaugh during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. "I said to the women who are justifiably angry but determined, I said they should be just focused like a laser beam on the elections". In the short term he will provide the decisive fifth vote for a conservative majority on the nine-member court.

Residents of a townhouse near the Washington home of Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican whose backing helped get Kavanaugh over the line on Saturday, flew the flag of the lawmaker's home state ME upside down in protest.

On a practical level, the four liberal justices need a vote from the right side of the court in which they otherwise divide on the familiar ideological fault lines.

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