The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Saturday afternoon, likely cementing a conservative majority on the court for a generation and bringing to an end months of bitter partisan feuding marked by shocking allegations of sexual assault and vehement and angry denials from the nominee.
The final vote was interrupted several times by protesters as senators sat silent at their desks for the formal roll call vote.
“I do not consent, where’s my representation,” one yelled.
The confirmation marks a major victory for President Donald Trump, who will soon be able to take credit for appointing two conservative justices to the Supreme Court during his relatively brief time in office.
Democrats railed against the nomination in Senate floor speeches Friday night and Saturday morning, and protests opposing Kavanaugh are expected throughout the day on Saturday. But the GOP has the votes to successfully confirm Kavanaugh.
Large groups of protesters gathered outside the Capitol building and across the street at the Supreme Court ahead of the final vote on Saturday. People on the steps of the Capitol chanted “vote them out!” and “the whole world is watching,” messages that at times met with jeers and boos from others in the crowd.
In a sign of the tense mood at the Capitol, Republican Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas was interrupted twice by yelling from protesters in the Senate gallery, which is open to visitors. Earlier in the day, Cornyn told a group of reporters that this has “not been the Senate’s finest hour,” and said that “a better path forward” is needed.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley offered up some words of praise for protesters ahead of the vote. The Iowa Republican told reporters that his message to protesters would be, “thank god that you’re willing to exercise your First Amendment rights of association and free speech. Keep it up, because it’s going to make America stronger.”
Shortly before the vote, Trump said Kavanaugh “will be a great justice of the Supreme Court.”
“He’s just an extraordinary person… and I think he’s going to make us all very proud,” Trump added.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the nomination “one of the saddest moments in the history of the Senate,” and said, “this chapter will be a flashing red warning light of what to avoid.”
Republicans “conducted one of the least transparent, least fair, most biased processes in Senate history, slanting the table from the very beginning to produce their desired result,” he added.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who helped push through Kavanaugh’s nomination despite moments where it looked like it could fail, effusively praised Kavanaugh.
“The President nominated a jurist who has been described by legal peers of all political stripes as a superstar,” McConnell said, later adding that “Judge Brett Kavanaugh is among the very best our nation has to offer.”