Lisa Murkowski 'present' vote on Brett Kavanaugh 'disgraceful,' Donald Trump says

Cristina Cross
October 7, 2018

"We've had two in less than two years", Trump said, announcing plans to hold an official ceremony for Kavanaugh at the White House on Monday evening.

At a hearing marked by bitter partisan acrimony, Kavanaugh was forced to defend himself against an allegation of sexual assault dating back to when he was a teenager.

While Democrats' defeat was all but certain, the Senate remained in session overnight, though the chamber was mostly empty.

Kavanaugh has served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006.

Kavanaugh is expected to be sworn in quickly and will join four liberal justices and four other conservatives as the court, which is expected soon to hear controversial disputes involving abortion, immigration, gay rights and voting rights. Kavanaugh has denied all the accusations.

"Millions of Americans, millions of women are watching us today", said New York Sen.

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. Protesters have roamed Capitol Hill corridors and grounds daily, chanting, "November is coming", "Vote them out" and "We believe survivors". "I do believe that she was assaulted".

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Brett Kavanaugh had said the stakes of his nomination caused Democrats to try to stop him by any means. "We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy".

Like Trump, senators at the Capitol predicted voters would react strongly by defeating the other party's candidates in next month's congressional elections. On Thursday, almost 300 protesters, including comedian and actress Amy Schumer, were detained by Capitol Police during a demonstration.

"She gave an impassioned, lovely speech yesterday". I don't know by whom.

To cheers of supporters on Saturday night in Topeka, Trump said he called Kavanaugh to congratulate him upon his ascendancy to the high court.

About 100 anti-Kavanaugh protesters climbed the Capitol's East Steps as the vote approached, pumping fists and waving signs. Support from Collins and Manchin would give Kavanaugh at least 51 votes, assuming no one else changes their stance. She called it "the most hard in the 22 years that I've been honored to represent the state of Maine in the Senate".

"It's turned our base on fire", declared Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. A few Democrats sat stone-faced nearby.

Her hearing sparked a supplemental Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into his background, which created a week long delay of the vote. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who was instead attending his daughter's wedding.

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Ms. Murkowski voted "present" at Saturday's Senate vote, saying she "could not conclude that he was right person for the court at this time". Murkowski said she'd use an obscure procedure that lets one senator offset the absence of another without affecting the outcome.

When Sen. Jeff Flake cast his vote in favor of Kavanaugh, one protester shouted, "You're a coward Flake, a total coward!" Vice President Mike Pence presided, his potential tie-breaking vote unnecessary.

By a vote of 50-48, the Senate gave a lifetime job to Kavanaugh, 53, after weeks of fierce debate over sexual violence, privilege and alcohol abuse that convulsed the nation just weeks before congressional elections on November 6.

Ford testified at a Judicial Committee hearing that Kavanaugh had pushed her on to a bed and choked her while trying to take off her clothes during a 1982 party and she feared she was going to the killed before managing to escape.

But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY forecast gains for his party instead: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box". That reflected Democrats' lasting umbrage over Republicans' 2016 refusal to even consider Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

"This is one of the reasons I chose him is because there is no one with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh". "I'm also concerned about the impact on the court".

Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while the two were in high school, prompting a week's delay in Kavanaugh's confirmation to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation into the alleged incident.

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Two other women later emerged with sexual misconduct allegations from the 1980s.

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