WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate has confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme court by a narrow margin of 50 - 48 in a contentious battle for control of the nation's highest court.
The two-vote margin is one of the narrowest ever for a Supreme Court nominee.
The historic vote delivered an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country’s cultural, gender and political divides.
Acrimonious to the end, the battle featured a climactic roll call that was interrupted several times by protesters in the Senate Gallery before Capitol Police removed them.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced that she would have voted no, but withdrew her vote as a courtesy to Senator Steve Daines of Montana. Mr. Daines, who would have voted yes, was attending his daughter’s wedding. Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia was the only Democrat to vote yes.
In this handout photo provided by the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, (Retired) administers the Judicial Oath to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his wife Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible while joined by their daughters Margaret and Liza, in the Justices Conference Room at the Supreme Court Building.
President Trump speaks at a rally in Topeka, Kansas just hours after the historic vote.
Protesters have flooded the stairs of the Capitol to let their views be heard on the conformation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court:
President Donald Trump flashed two thumbs up when the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He also criticized Democrats for what he called a "horrible, horrible attack" on Kavanaugh.
Trump watched the vote Saturday in his private cabin aboard Air Force One as he flew to a campaign rally in Kansas. He invited reporters to join him as the votes were tallied.
Trump predicted the appeals court judge would be a "totally brilliant Supreme Court justice for many years," and went on to praise Kavanaugh's "temperament, his incredible past, his outstanding years on the court."
Trump blamed Democrats for the controversy over allegations of sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was a high school and college student.
He called it "a horrible attack that nobody should have to go through."
Capitol Police say 164 people have been arrested at protests that took place as the Senate was voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Most of them - a total of 150 people - were arrested on the steps of the Capitol's East Front. They were among hundreds gathered at the Capitol to protest Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct. He denies the allegations.
Fourteen more were arrested in the Senate Gallery during the closely divided vote.
All those arrested were charged with unlawful crowding, obstructing or incommoding, which means inconveniencing someone They were processed offsite and released.
A few hours before the vote, demonstrators shouted "November is coming!" and "Vote them out!"
Protesters shouted "I do not consent" during the roll call vote on Kavanaugh.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate "stood up for presumption of innocence" by confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 Saturday during a historic roll call vote in the Senate chamber. The two-vote margin is one of the narrowest ever for a Supreme Court nominee.
The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh despite the allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Kavanaugh denied the allegations, and Republicans say an FBI investigation did not corroborate them.
McConnell said at a press conference that putting Kavanaugh on the court "was about treating someone fairly."
He called the vote "a good day for America" and predicted voters will reward Republicans for it in the midterm election. The struggle to confirm Kavanaugh, in his words, "turned our base on fire."
Brett Kavanaugh will soon don his robes as a justice. The Supreme Court says he will be sworn in later Saturday.
In a statement, the court says Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Constitutional Oath and retired Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will administer the Judicial Oath in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Both oaths will be administered so Kavanaugh can participate in the work of the court immediately.
A formal investiture ceremony will take place at a special sitting of the court at a later date.
President Trump tweets his congratulations to Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
Protests ring out in the gallery as Vice President Mike Pence attempts to bring order ahead of the Kavanaugh vote.
Senators Schumer and McConnell are delivering final remarks ahead of the vote, which was scheduled to be held at 3:30 p.m.
The Senate has gathered on Capitol Hill for the historic vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
The final speakers address the Senate ahead of the final Kavanaugh vote.
The New York Times is reporting that Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, says his party will open an investigation into allegations of sexual assault and perjury against Brett Kavanaugh if Democrats win control of the House in November.
“It is not something we are eager to do,” Nadler told the Times on Friday.
Nadler said that because the Senate “failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”
How will the vote be taken? Like this:
Protestors have staged a sit-in in the middle of the street in front of the Supreme Court. Several have been arrested.
1:50 p.m.: First lady Melania Trump offered her support to Brett Kavanaugh from Africa where she is on a trip.
“I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court,” the first lady told reporters traveling with her in Egypt on the final leg of her four-country tour of Africa.
1:30 p.m.: The vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is now expected to take place at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
1:21 p.m: People continue to protest in Washington.
12:50 p.m.: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is expected to be voting "present" instead of "no" during the vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation so that Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, can attend his daughter's wedding, according to Fox News.
Murkowski broke with Republicans on Friday to vote “no” on ending debate on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Daines had said he would attend his daughter’s wedding then fly back to Washington on Saturday night to vote in favor of Kavanaugh if his vote was needed.
If Murkowski votes “present” and not “no” then Daines’ vote would not be needed to confirm Kavanaugh to the court.
12:21 p.m.: Capitol Police said they arrested 101 people Friday as they protested Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Seventy-eight were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating in Senate office buildings and six were arrested on the Senate Gallery for protesting during Maine Sen. Susan Collins' speech on the floor.
Sixteen were also arrested for blocking the street in front of the Supreme Court, and one was arrested for marijuana use.
11:59 a.m.: President Donald Trump has tweeted his support for the upcoming confirmation vote.
People have gathered in Atlanta at Woodruff Park to protest the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court:
© 2020 Cox Media Group