After a Senate vote of 50-48, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court as the 114 Supreme Court justice.
“I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court,” tweeted President Donald Trump on Oct. 6. “Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!”
Kavanaugh’s confirmation came after a long period of divisiveness surrounding a sexual assault case brought against the judge by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Ford alleged that Kavanaugh and a friend had attempted to rape her in 1982 while all attending a house party.
“It is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything,” wrote Ford in a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Ford disclosed the details of the alleged attack in the letter.
After Ford spoke out against Kavanaugh, two more allegations followed. Both Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick shared their experiences with sexual assault and each named Kavanaugh in their stories.
After being forced from her home by hate mail and death threats, Ford testified before the Senate on Sept. 27. The testimony was aired across six networks, and over 20 million people watched. Kavanaugh spoke to the Senate after Ford, and was berated by the public for behavior that was deemed inappropriate. “Saturday Night Live” even parodied Kavanaugh’s time on the Senate Floor in a cold opening featuring Matt Damon as Kavanaugh.
“At times, my testimony—both in my opening statement and in response to questions—reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused, without corroboration, of horrible conduct completely contrary to my record and character,” Kavanaugh wrote in an Op-Ed published by the Wall Street Journal. “My statement and answers also reflected my deep distress at the unfairness of how this allegation has been handled.”
An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I) closely followed the testifications, but did not corroborate with Ford’s story. Only one copy of the report was given to the Senate to review and many are accusing the FBI’s investigation of being rushed and incomplete, as neither Kavanaugh or Ford were interviewed. In a hearing with the Senate Homeland Security Committee on global security threats, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the investigation had been limited by the White House.
“Our supplemental update to the previous background investigation was limited in scope and that … is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back a long ways,” said Wray.
After reviewing the investigation, the Senate moved to vote on Kavanaugh’s placement. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) served as the key supporting voters, with Manchin being the only Democrat to affirm Kavanaugh. Protests continued through the vote, as protesters gathered in the Senate gallery to chant “Shame on you.”
With the addition of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Republicans now hold the majority with five of nine seats. After the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Kavanaugh replaced, no justices hold a traditionally moderate “swing” vote. Many believe that the court is more conservative than it has been in the modern era because of this.
“…We might be heading into the most conservative era since at least 1937,” said Lee Epstein in an interview with The New York Times. Epstein works at Washington University in St. Louis as a political scientist and professor of law.