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.”