Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, just hours after the Senate voted to confirm him. The 53-year-old’s lifetime appointment cements a right-wing majority on the court for the foreseeable future.
The vote was 50 in favor, 48 against and 1 present. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who had promised to buck her party and vote “no” on Kavanaugh, voted “present” so that Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana could attend his daughter’s wedding. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who was seen as a possible swing vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, announced her support for the candidate on Friday afternoon.
Sen. Susan Collins: “Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court, so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored. Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
Kavanaugh’s nomination came under intense public scrutiny after three women accused him of sexual misconduct. He has denied allegations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, as well as two more accusers: Julie Swetnick and Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who said he exposed himself to her during a party.
In a statement released Saturday, Ramirez said that by their vote the senators were “deliberately ignoring [Kavanaugh’s] behavior,” adding, “I feel like I’m right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. … This is how victims are isolated and silenced.”
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was the only Democratic senator to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. This is Senator Manchin after declaring his support for Kavanaugh last Friday.
Sen. Joe Manchin: “I’m very much concerned, basically, with the sexual abuse that people have had to endure, and very much concerned that we have to do something as a country. But I had to deal with the facts I had in front of me.”
Reporter: “Senator, do you think that there’s still a place in the Democratic Party for you after this?”
Sen. Joe Manchin: “I’m just a West Virginian. I’m just a good old West Virginia boy.”
Protests against Kavanaugh’s confirmation raged in Washington, D.C., and across the country Saturday. Capitol Police arrested 164 demonstrators, including 150 outside the U.S. Capitol Building and a handful of protesters who interrupted the Senate roll call vote. In New York City, protesters took to the streets just as Kavanaugh was confirmed. This is Zakiyah Ansari of Alliance for Quality Education.
Zakiyah Ansari: “This is bigger than Kavanaugh. I want to constantly say that. This is way bigger. As a black Muslim woman in society, I am clear that Kavanaugh will not only overturn Roe v. Wade, but many civil rights legislations that are impactful, many things that have been supportive of communities that look like me, he will overturn those, as well. But what I also am clear is that as a black woman in society, knowing the struggles we’ve been up against, that we too can rise above this, we too can fight back.”
The United Nations’ climate panel warns in a new report that humanity has only a dozen years to mitigate climate change or face global catastrophe—with severe droughts, floods, sea level rise and extreme heat set to cause mass displacement and poverty. The landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the IPCC—warns dramatic action is needed over the next 12 years to hold global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, beyond which global crises could unfold at a rapid pace. The report comes as Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in parts of Florida, as forecasters predict Tropical Storm Michael could strengthen to become a major hurricane as it makes landfall late Wednesday.
In Indonesia, the death toll from last month’s massive earthquake and tsunami has risen to more than 1,900, with some 60,000 people displaced after an 18-foot wall of water swept miles into the island of Sulawesi. Authorities warn some 5,000 people remain missing, many of them likely swept out to sea or trapped under rubble that could take months or years to clear.
In Brazil, far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro surged to first place in Sunday’s general election, but will face an October 28 runoff election after narrowly missing an outright win. Bolsonaro claimed 46 percent of votes; he’ll face Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who won just under 30 percent. Bolsonaro has a history of making racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments. He’s a former Army officer who has openly praised Brazil’s military dictatorship, has encouraged police to kill suspected drug dealers, and once told a female lawmaker she was too ugly to rape. Ahead of the election, anti-Bolsonaro protesters rallied in São Paulo and in other cities Saturday, proclaiming, “Not Him.”
Luci: “My son is transgender. And for his security, I am here protesting. Bolsonaro is homophobic and incites violence against those who are not heterosexual.”
Fears are growing over the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States, entered the consulate seeking a document he needed to get married and has not been seen since. The Washington Post reports a Turkish investigation has revealed that a group of about 15 Saudi men traveled to Istanbul to kill him as he visited the consulate. Saudi officials have denied the report and say they don’t know Khashoggi’s whereabouts. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted Sunday, “If this is true–that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him–it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia.” We’ll have more on this story later in the broadcast.
In Afghanistan, at least 54 people were killed across the country on Sunday, on the 17th anniversary of the start of the U.S. invasion. The death toll included at least 19 Afghan civilians. American and Afghan airstrikes have increased in recent months as the conflict shows no sign of slowing down and the Taliban remain undefeated. The United Nations says the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan reached a record high in the first half of the year, with some 1,700 deaths reported. In New York, protesters gathered Sunday to call for an end to the Afghan War—the longest war in U.S. history. This is Susan Schnall of Veterans for Peace.
Susan Schnall: “It’s about all the wars that the United States perpetrates on other countries and the fact that what I have seen over the past 50 years is United States multinational corporations getting larger and larger and continuing to support an American military that feels it can change the governance of any country it wishes to, in furtherance of the interests of the corporations.”
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians and injured 126 others on Friday during weekly protests near Israel’s separation barrier. Among the dead was a 12-year-old boy, Faris al-Sersawi. Israeli gunfire has killed at least 195 Palestinians and has wounded some 18,000 since Palestinians’ Great March of Return protests began on March 30. In the West Bank, Israeli police say a 23-year-old Palestinian man shot and killed two Israelis and injured a third person at an industrial park near an Israeli settlement on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in a Jerusalem courtroom on Sunday, facing trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust. Sara Netanyahu is accused of spending about $100,000 to hire celebrity chefs to prepare meals for the Netanyahus and their guests, even though the prime minister’s residence has a full-time chef. The trial comes as prosecutors have recommended indictments against Benjamin Netanyahu for accepting bribes and trading political favors for positive news coverage.
In Bulgaria, police found the body of a 30-year-old journalist Saturday in the northern town of Ruse, after she disappeared shortly after reporting on the misuse of EU funds by local authorities. Police say Viktoria Marinova’s body showed signs she’d been raped, bludgeoned in the head and suffocated. She’s the third journalist murdered in the European Union over the past year.
In western Germany, more than 50,000 protesters converged on the Hambach Forest Saturday, demanding an end to the planned expansion of a neighboring open-pit coal mine. The protest came as a German court halted plans by the RWE energy company to clear-cut more of the forest to make way for expanded mining. The court says it needs more time to determine whether the plans violate EU environmental laws—a decision that won’t happen until at least late 2020. Last month, police raided a protest encampment in the Hambach Forest, arresting dozens of activists who’d been living in treehouses. Click here to see our report from the Hambach Forest.
In Chicago, a jury on Friday found white police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder for killing African-American teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014. Van Dyke was also found guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery—one count for each of the 16 bullets he fired at McDonald. A key piece of evidence for prosecutors was a police dash cam video showing McDonald posed no threat and walked away from officers before Van Dyke fired at him, emptying an entire magazine from his handgun. Jason Van Dyke was the first Chicago cop to stand trial for an on-duty murder in 50 years.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, NFL star Eric Reid, who helped spark league-wide protests in 2016 when he became the first player to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick during the playing of the national anthem, took a knee ahead of his first game with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Reid’s protest against police brutality and racial injustice came after he spent the offseason as an unsigned free agent before he was finally picked up by the Panthers late last month. Both Reid and Kaepernick have filed grievances with the NFL alleging owners conspired to deny them contracts over their protests. Kaepernick is still unsigned.