Kavanaugh wins US Senate vote, sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
The US Senate has finally approved President Donald Trump’s pick for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, despite massive oppositions over his ethical misbehavior.
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The Saturday development came while massive crowd of protesters converged in front of the Supreme Court building as well as on the lawn across from Capitol Hill, shouting anti-Kavanaugh slogans. A number of demonstrators also attempted to enter the legislative building but were blocked by US Capitol Police officers, who detained dozens of protesters, continuing the wave of mass arrests over the past weeks.
This is while some protesters also gathered in the gallery area of the Senate chamber as US Vice President Mike Pence tried to preside over the voting procedure, reminding people in the gallery that "expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted" there.
However, as Pence motioned to proceed with the final vote, protesters began yelling from the gallery with one person reportedly shouting: "Where's my representation? I did not consent."
As the protesters grew louder and louder, the lawmakers proceeded with the vote while the US vice president repeatedly called for order to be restored in the gallery. The voting process was delayed numerous times with activists chanting "shame, shame," at several senators who have drawn the rage of those opposing Kavanaugh's nomination.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky claimed that such outbursts by anti-Kavanaugh activists aimed at influencing the vote had backfired, accusing the protesters of being paid elements.
“The Senate’s really been under assault, by demonstrators, many of whom I suspect are paid and organized," McConnell said on Saturday in an interview with the Politico magazine.
According to local press reports, Kavanaugh's confirmation vote marked the closest margin of victory for a Supreme Court nominee since Clarence Thomas in 1991, and one of the tightest since the American Civil War.
This is while his ascension to the high court will guarantee a right-wing majority for years to come, an outcome that McConnell especially has focused on during his long tenure as the top Senate Republican.
US-based news outlets further point out that Kavanaugh’s confirmation will give the conservative judges in the Supreme Court a 5-4 majority and place it even more directly in the center of the nation’s culture wars, as cases involving abortion rights, immigration, gay rights, environmental laws, and voting rights all could come before the high court in the upcoming months and years.
The aftermath of the bitter battle over Kavanaugh’s confirmation is likely to also play out in the upcoming midterm elections just a month from now.
The development comes as more investigations into Kavanaugh’s past are anticipated with House Democrats warning that if they achieve a majority in the next Congress, they may launch a probe into the FBI investigation about the assault allegations brought against him by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, focusing on whether the White House played a role in guiding the FBI probe into Kavanaugh.
Moreover, Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester also waded into Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and the millions of dollars that has been spent both for and against him.
"Dark money is paying for over 80 percent of (Kavanaugh’s) ads," Tester said in September 29 debate as cited in PolitiFact fact-checking news outlet.
Much of such funding, according to the report, has taken the form of "dark money," which refers to political spending by unknown donors, intending to influence the US public opinion.
“We found no one who knows how much money in total has been spent in support of Kavanaugh's nomination,” said the report. “On top of that, the dark money groups aren't required in most cases to report their expenditures.”