Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to serve on the US supreme court despite sexual misconduct allegations
The United States Senate has voted in favour of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the US supreme court, despite the multiple accusations of sexual misconduct that have been highly publicised in the past weeks. In a 50-48 vote, the Senate confirmed him on Saturday following a confirmation process that split the country.
The soon-to-be Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump in July to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Since his nomination, objections to the conservative who previously served on the DC Circuit Court were made by the public. This only intensified in recent weeks after demonstrations were sparked following the accusations of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
Despite the ensuing investigations and trials, Kavanaugh was confirmed to serve, news that came to be expected after the Senate voted on Friday morning to continue with the confirmation process. That afternoon, Senator Susan Collins declared her support for the Kavanaugh in a floor speech, citing a "lack of corroborating evidence" to justify her decision.
Following a procedural vote, the dominant Republican party won the majority support, bringing the news of Kavanaugh's confirmation to near certainty. Kavanaugh's victory is also a victory for Trump, and tilts the US's highest court to the right for the foreseeable future
People have been protesting furiously against the decision, with Saturday's vote reportedly being interrupted at least four times by protesters in the gallery. The nomination passed narrowly, with 50-48 making it one of the closest votes in the court's history. It is reported that votes came down almost entirely to party lines.
Kavanaugh was accused of having sexually harassed several women from his past, the most prominent of which was Dr Christine Blasey Ford. Though she was "terrified" of speaking out in front of the nation, the research psychologist chose to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
She said that she felt it was her “civic duty” to share her story about the “boy who sexually assaulted me”. During the emotional hearing, Dr Ford said she was "100 per cent" sure that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. When they were both teenagers, Dr Ford recalled how he has attempted to rape her in the 1980s. Previously, she had told the Washington Post that she was reluctant to come forward for one reason: “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said.
In his own appearance before the panel, Kavanaugh strongly denied all allegations of misconduct. At times appearing aggravated and frenzied, he slammed the whole thing for being a smear campaign organised by Democrats. This prompted an FBI investigation into the matter, which was later condemned by Democrats as being incomplete.
“I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said,” he later wrote in an opinion article published in the Wall Street Journal.
But despite the fact that other women made claims against Kavanaugh, and despite the fact that several of his former classmates announced that he had lied under oath, Kavanaugh is to be sworn in today and begin serving this week.