MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was clearly one of the most divisive confirmation battles in U.S. Supreme Court history — one that was painted with partisan bitterness and anger.
Prior to the Saturday afternoon vote, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer addressed his Senate colleagues saying, “they (Republicans) were intent on shrouding the truth because they knew if the truth came to light, Kavanaugh would be exposed as a flawed nominee.”
About 120 onlookers sat in the Senate gallery, where deep tensions quickly boiled over. As the rollcall vote got underway, chants of “shame on you” echoed inside the chamber.
Presiding over the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence interrupted the vote on several occasions, saying “sergeant-at-arms, restore order.”
Twelve weeks after being nominated, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed. The 50-48 vote was largely along party lines.
“This was about evidence being relevant, not about unsubstantiated charges,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican Majority Leader.
At a private ceremony soon after the affirmative vote, Judge Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Judge John Roberts. As his motorcade left the Supreme Court building, several protesters in the crowd lining the streets doused the vehicles with water from plastic bottles.
Hours later, at a raucous Topeka campaign rally, President Donald Trump beamed while addressing the crowd, having just cemented the high court’s conservative majority.
“I proudly signed the Judge’s commission aboard Air Force One just before landing,” Trump said.
Minnesota’s two Democratic senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, voted against confirmation and reacted in public tweets.
“The Senate has spoken. Now the people can. Vote November 6th,” Klobuchar said in a tweet.
Sen. Smith added, “Channel your rage and sadness into the midterms.”
Associate Justice Kavanaugh will take his seat on the bench as the court convenes for the fall session on Tuesday.