The Senate confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday, in a close 50-48 vote that saw just one Republican and one Democrat cross party lines.
The news marked the end of a bitter partisan battle over President Trump’s pick to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The D.C. Circuit judge’s nomination sparked speculation about whether Kavanaugh would vote to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe vs. Wade should it be reconsidered.
Last month, Kavanaugh’s confirmation was thrown into doubt when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both in high school, prompting an extraordinary day of testimony by Ford and Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But a subsequent FBI investigation of the allegations convinced several undecided senators to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, putting him over the top.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the floor before the vote, urging Americans to vote Republicans out of office.
“To so many millions who are outraged at what happened here, there’s only one answer: Vote,” Schumer said. “Let the confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh be recorded as a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia’s seat.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also spoke, saying the “basic principles of fairness and justice are being tested right here.”
“This is an institution where the evidence and the facts matter,” he said. “A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate’s history.”
Protesters erupted in the Senate gallery as soon as the roll was called, some shouting, “Shame! Shame!” They continued to yell as Vice President Mike Pence asked for order to be restored.