Kavanaugh Confirmed as the 114th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
On Saturday, October 6, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the 114th U.S. Supreme Court Justice. A few hours after his confirmation he was sworn in by the Chief Justice, John Roberts, in a private ceremony.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation is highly controversial. This is because multiple sexual assault accusations were leveled against him recently. The allegation that drew the most attention was Christine Blasey Ford’s. She alleged that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in the 1980s, when they were teenagers. Her testimony and Kavanaugh’s were heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school,” said Ford, during her testimony.
This hearing led three of Kavanaugh’s ‘drinking buddies’ to publish an op-ed in The Washington Post. They claimed that Kavanagh had lied under oath about his drinking problem. They advised the Senate to vote no on Kavanaugh.
That same day Kavanaugh wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He promised to be an independent and impartial judge. He admitted that he may have been too emotional during the hearing. He stated that he was emotional because his family had been subject to “vicious allegations”.
Ford’s allegation also lead the Senate to call for the FBI to investigate this claim. During the course of the investigation, they interviewed 9 people. Ford and Kavanaugh were not interviewed. When the investigation was complete, one copy was placed in a special room. Only senators were allowed to view the investigation, to prevent someone from leaking it to the media.
After the investigation was released Senate Republicans announced that it yielded no new information. It also convinced swing votes Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, and Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. However, Senate Democrats claimed that the report was incomplete.
“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,” Collins said, in an almost 45-minute-long speech on why she was voting to confirm Kavanaugh.
The vote to confirm Kavanaugh was 50 ayes to 48 nays. He was confirmed almost entirely along party lines, with all the Democrats voting against him, except one, and most Republicans voting for him. Joe Manchin, from West Virginia, was the only Democrat to vote for Kavanaugh. While Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska, was the only Republican to vote against him. However, Murkowski actually refrained from voting as a favor to her Republican colleague, Steve Daines of Montana, who was attending his daughter’s wedding and was unable to vote. She did this to keep the final margin at two votes.
“I believe he is a good man. It just may be that, in my view, he’s not the right man for the court at this time,” said Murkowski, before the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
Public opinion is split on Kavanaugh. After his confirmation, Anti-Kavanaugh protestors occupied the steps of the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court. These protests lead to about 150 arrests. In total, over 300 people have been arrested for protesting Kavanagh this past week in D.C. alone.
Due to the controversial nature of this confirmation, people on both sides of the aisle are hoping it will inspire people to vote for them. The Republicans are hoping it will motivate their base. While Democrats are hoping it will draw enough people to the voting booths, so that they can retake the Senate and House of Representatives.