Hundreds protest outside Supreme Court ahead of Brett Kavanaugh vote

Frederick Owens
October 9, 2018

The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court's 114th justice on Saturday in a historic 50-48 vote - one that divided the nation and now tilts the highest court to the right for the first time in eight decades.

Both sides understood that issues of overwhelming importance both to conservatives and to liberals could be at stake.

A total of 13 protesters were removed and arrested during the vote.

Amid tighter-than-usual security, hundreds of protesters against Kavanaugh assembled on the grounds of the Capitol and at the Supreme Court.

Diane Russell, a Democratic activist, said Collins voted to "betray ME women and ME survivors" by ignoring their stories.

Republican Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was set to vote "no" on Kavanaugh, but as a favor to Montana Senator Steve Daines. she voted "present" to offset his "yes" vote so he could attend his daughter's wedding.

Activists demonstrate in the plaza of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Washington. "Having weighed the over 500,000 documents provided, five days of public testimony and the thorough vetting completed on Judge Kavanaugh, I voted to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a justice of the Supreme Court".

"Later Saturday, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in".

"All witnesses said to have direct knowledge of the allegations as well as others who might have indirect information were interviewed".

With divisive cases on abortion rights, immigration, transgender rights and business regulation headed for the court, Kavanaugh likely would give conservatives the upper hand.

But Republicans said that the fight had motivated the conservative base ahead of the November midterms.

Protesters in the Senate Gallery interrupted the vote by yelling and were escorted out of the building by security.

In testimony to the committee, Kavanaugh defended his judicial record and categorically denied the allegations with strong emotion, at times tearing up and firing questions back at senators.

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Collins - a moderate Republican from ME - said Kavanaugh was entitled to the "presumption of innocence" as the allegations against him had not been substantiated.

Trump stood by Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge with a history of advancing Republican causes, and this week mocked Ford's account of what she says was a drunken attack on her by Kavanaugh when they were teenagers.

While fellow actress Alyssa Milano, who helped spark the Me Too movement by encouraging victims to tweet about their harassment or abuse, said she was "terrified and outraged".

Collins said Saturday that crowdsourced funding targeting her was tantamount to "a bribe, or extortion".

Republicans control the Senate by a meager 51-49 margin, and announcements of support Friday from Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME, along with Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, locked in the needed votes.

Republican Senator Deb Fischer described Kavanaugh as "one of the most thoughtful, pre-eminent judges in our nation".

Meanwhile, Trump - himself no stranger to sexual misconduct allegations - praised the Senate for confirming his "GREAT NOMINEE" via Twitter.

Democratic Senator Edward Markey countered, saying Kavanaugh has been a "rubber stamp for a far right-wing agenda".

She added: "We will carry that anger into the election". We heard belligerence. We heard evasiveness. Fox News' polling shows Republican challenger Kevin Cramer now leading by 12 points (53-41 percent).

A smaller group of Kavanaugh supporters also gathered.

In the end, there was a two-vote margin.

In 1881, Justice Stanley Matthews prevailed in a vote of 24-23.

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