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Senate confirms Judge Brett Kavanaugh for US Supreme Court

Brandon  The Associated Press

The U.S. Senate voted Saturday to approve Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, following weeks of controversy over sexual assault accusations and attacks on his character and temperament.

She said on the Senate floor late Friday that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable".

"I think it's unfair to people who have actually been abused, raped and molested, for her to come forward and say that she was when maybe she wasn't, and all those people that have, it's just a mockery", she said. "When passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy".

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly battled with Trump and will retire in January, said he, too, planned to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation. "Informed by Alexander Hamilton's Federalist 76, I have interpreted this to mean that the president has broad discretion to consider a nominee's philosophy, whereas my duty as a senator is to focus on the nominee's qualifications as long as that nominee's philosophy is within the mainstream of judicial thought". Joe Manchin (D-WV) - two key swing votes - announced their support for Kavanaugh Friday, giving the nominee the majority he needs.

In a twist, Murkowski voted "present" Saturday as a courtesy to Republican Kavanaugh supporter Steve Daines, who was to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding in Montana. The decision came after Ford and Kavanaugh testified on Capitol Hill on September 27.

During the vote, other protesters shouted "shame" from the public gallery and Vice-President Mike Pence had to call for order to be restored.

Mr Trump also said he was "100% certain" that the woman who had accused Mr Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, had named the wrong person.

Democrats said Kavanaugh's partisan defense of himself, in which he said he was victim of a "political hit", was enough itself to disqualify him from the court.

But the turmoil wrought by the process, and the impact it has on Kavanaugh's reputation on the court, could endure. "Threats or other attempts to bully her will not play a factor in her decision making whatsoever", Annie Clark said in a statement before the senator announced her support for Kavanaugh. That is a state that President Donald Trump won by a very large margin - by more than 40 percentage point, in fact.

Republicans need every vote they can get, so the Manchin yes to advance to a vote has some Democrats and Republicans on high alert, especially as a result of the Murkowski defection from how her fellow Republicans went.

But Collins addressed the 2020 election in an interview with News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ) shortly after Saturday's vote.

Republicans have denounced the protests that have gripped the Capitol in recent days as "mob rule".

When Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, Democrats leapt to oppose him, saying that past statements and opinions showed he'd be a threat to the Roe v. Wade case that assured the right to abortion.

Though she knew Kavanaugh's chances of confirmation would be high when she arrived today, Piper said she still felt a sense of optimism.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the final vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy after the required 30-hour waiting period after passing a nominee from committee to the Senate vote, a procedure known as cloture.