Published On: Sun, Oct 7th, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation: Victory For Trump In Supreme Court Battle

President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has been sworn in following weeks of rancorous debate.

Brett Kavanaugh

The Senate earlier backed his nomination by 50 votes to 48.

Mr Kavanaugh had been embroiled in a bitter battle to stave off claims of sexual assault, which he denies.

But after an 11th-hour investigation by the FBI into the allegations, enough wavering senators decided to support the nomination.

His confirmation hands Mr Trump a political victory ahead of key mid-term elections in November.

Ahead of the vote, hundreds of people protested against Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination at the US Capitol in Washington.

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

The 53 year old was sworn in on Saturday evening in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath and retired justice Anthony Kennedy – whom Mr Kavanaugh is replacing – administered the judicial oath.

Protesters had gathered outside the court and at one point some ran up the steps and banged on its ornate doors. Other demonstrators climbed on the nearby statue of justice.

Later he spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One, saying Mr Kavanaugh had withstood a “horrible attack by the Democrats” and that women were “outraged” at what had happened to the nominee.

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.

So what were the numbers in the Senate?

The upper house is split 51-49 in favour of the Republicans and the vote was largely along party lines. In the end, there was indeed a two-vote margin, the closest nomination vote since 1881.

Why is the court so important?

Basically, it’s the final arbiter of US law.

It has the ultimate say on such contentious issues as abortion and gun control.

The Democrats are still smarting from the previous Supreme Court appointment. Republicans last year successfully stalled the process, meaning it fell to Mr Trump, not Barack Obama, to nominate the new justice. Mr Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch strengthened the conservative leaning.

All eyes will now be on November’s mid-term elections. Mr Trump will be able to campaign on the back of an important victory, but commentators will be watching closely how the Kavanaugh affair affects women voters.