Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Senate set to vote on Kavanaugh confirmation Saturday

Senate set to vote on Kavanaugh confirmation Saturday

Brett Kavanaugh is set to become the Supreme Court justice who inaugurates a conservative majority for a generation, after wavering Republicans closed ranks to give him sufficient votes for confirmation in a historic victory for President Donald Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence planned to be available Saturday in case his tie-breaking vote was needed, which now seems unlikely. But he added that based on the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, "I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him".

"An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word", they said in a statement quoted in U.S. media.

Though they reached opposite conclusions, both women had faced similar political pressure heading into Friday's key vote on Kavanaugh's high court nomination.

Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy Saturday evening.

"Those tend to be districts that are dominated by suburban, college educated women, who I think are seeing the Kavanaugh hearing in one light".

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He barely survived a procedural test on Friday, when senators voted 51-49 to advance his nomination to a final vote, which is expected to occur around 5 pm (2100 GMT) on Saturday.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seems destined to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side.

All but one Republican lined up behind him, arguing that a truncated FBI investigation turned up no corroborating witnesses and that Kavanaugh had sterling credentials for the court. "He's a good man, he's clearly a learned judge, but in my conscience, because that's how I have to vote at the end of the day, I could not conclude that he is the right person for the court at this time", she said.

"This behavior revealed a hostility and belligerence unbecoming of someone seeking to be elevated to the Supreme Court", she said.

As shrieks of "shame, shame, shame" echoed from the public galleries, divided and angry senators voted 50-48 to endorse a lifetime seat on the court for Kavanaugh.

"They managed to deliver the only thing we had not been able to figure out how to do, which is to get our folks fired up", McConnell said.

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Kavanaugh's opponents raised concerns that he'd push the court further right, including possible sympathetic rulings for Trump.

Within minutes of their announcements, potential political challengers to both Collins and Murkowski emerged.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell led the nominee's defense, calling him "one of the most impressive, stunningly qualified nominees in our nation's history" and accusing Democrats of a "smear" campaign. They also challenged the veracity of some of his Judiciary Committee testimony. But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY forecast gains for his party instead: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box". That reflected Democrats' lasting umbrage over Republicans' 2016 refusal to even consider Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

The new profile of the court immediately makes Trump a consequential president, for all of the chaos and discord that rages around his White House, and means his legacy will include an achievement that eluded previous Republican presidents - all of whom had more authentic conservative credentials. They said he also seemed ready to rule for Trump if federal authorities probing his 2016 campaign's connections to Russian Federation try to pursue him in court.

During the controversial speech, Trump mocked Ford and mimicked her, claiming her allegations against Kavanaugh lacked sufficient detail.

His ascent to the Supreme Court was thrown into doubt last week after university research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified that he had sexually assaulted her at a Washington area party in the early 1980s.

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