WASHINGTON - In one of the most contentious votes in the history of the United States, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, but barely.
On Oct. 6, 2018, the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh, with the tally being almost perfectly drawn to party lines. Only one Republican - Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski - did not vote in favor of the confirmation, while one Democrat - West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin - voted in the affirmative for the Judge.
Murkowski’s vote was not typical in nature, as she “paired” her vote with fellow Republican and Montana Senator Steve Daines, who was not in attendance due to his daughter’s wedding. Since Daines’ “absentee vote” was a “yes,” Murkowski simply said “present,” which canceled out the two votes, and thus had no real effect on the final tally.
Just hours after his confirmation, Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who administered the Constitutional Oath in the Justices’ Conference Room.
President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land, celebrated the news on Twitter.
“I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court. Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting! …
“…You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of law - not the rule of the mob. VOTE REPUBLICAN!”
Kavanaugh is the second SCOTUS Justice nominated and confirmed in the Trump era, as Neil Gorsuch replaced the late Antonin Scalia in April 2017.
While Trump and Republicans praised the appointment of Kavanaugh, liberals and Democrats vehemently condemned the Judge, based on factors ranging from his sexual assault and misconduct allegations to lewd drunken behavior to even his temperament.
Among those protesting the outcome of the vote was New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who spoke on the possibility of impeaching Kavanaugh, based on allegations that the Judge might have committed perjury regarding his comments during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
“The reality is, right now, Republicans control the House and the Senate, and there’s no way to do even an investigation unless we flip one of the houses,” said Booker at the Iowa Democratic Gala. “So, I think even before you start focusing on questions about his truthfulness before a Senate committee, you’ve got to focus on the urgency of the work over the next 30 days, and that’s where my focus is.”
Even if Democrats were to claim a majority, this would need to happen for a Supreme Court Justice impeachment: First, the House of Representatives would need to vote in favor of impeachment. Then, the Senate would need no less that two-thirds of its members to initiate a removal, or conviction, of that Justice. In 1805, Justice Samuel Chase was “impeached” by the House, but was acquitted by the Senate, thereby keeping his seat.
In case if you were wondering, the same rules apply to impeaching a President of the United States. The most recent “impeached” POTUS was Bill Clinton, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. However, a two-thirds majority did not agree in the Senate, allowing Clinton to remain in office. Many on the anti-Trump side would like to see him impeached on obstruction of justice pertaining to the Russia investigation, but again, a House vote and two-thirds Senate vote are needed.
As for Kavanaugh, the newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice, many feel his appointment might trigger a decision outlawing abortion and other liberal ideals. However, while a Federal decision would have certain weight, states have rights on their own merits, so that situation is stickier than it looks. Also, even if a Federal decision outright banning abortion is not rendered, the court could effectively gut some pro-abortion concepts, like the GOP gutted Obamacare without full-on dismantling it.
For example, federal money related to abortion-related activities, like research and whatnot, may get cut, even though abortion itself would not be illegal.
After heated testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a testifying accuser and Democrats got what they wanted.
On Sept. 27, Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party when they were in high school. Kavanaugh also testified on his own accord, saying that the attack did not occur, and even supplied calendars to try and support his account.
On Sept. 28, the Committee did vote to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate for a confirmation vote. However, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) stunned many in the GOP when he said that he would only vote in favor of Kavanaugh if an FBI investigation took place, saying that the vote could wait a week.
Both Ford and Democrats had insisted that the FBI launch an investigation into Kavanaugh. The Bureau did get involved when Anita Hill made allegations of sexual harassment against then-SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Thomas was still confirmed to the highest court in the land despite Hill’s allegation.
Although several experts have said that the FBI could indeed pull off the task within one week’s time, there was speculation that the Trump Administration had limited the scope of the probe.
Trump took to Twitter to make his opinion known on the reports, stating, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting! …
“Wow! Just starting to hear the Democrats, who are only thinking Obstruct and Delay, are starting to put out the word that the ‘time’ and ‘scope’ of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello! For them, it will never be enough - stay tuned and watch!”
While the Bureau has met with a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, it is possible that they will not speak with third accuser Julie Swetnick, who is being represented by Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti. Ramirez, who once attended Yale University with Kavanaugh, said that he exposed himself and touched her with his genitalia at a dorm party nearly 35 years ago. Swetnick is accusing Kavanaugh of being involved in a gang rape in the 1980s.
WASHINGTON - As one woman prepares to speak to Congress about her allegations, two more women are making claims against a Supreme Court nominee.
On Sept. 20, a lawyer for Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford said that her client would be willing to speak to officials on Capitol Hill about her allegation that SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party when they were in high school. However, she did not agree to their meeting date of Monday, Sept. 24. Instead, Ford requested Thursday, Sept. 27 at the earliest, and that her safety would be ensured. Eventually, Congress agreed to her terms.
Both Ford and Democrats have insisted that the FBI launch an investigation into Kavanaugh. The Bureau did get involved when Anita Hill made allegations of sexual harassment against then-SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Thomas was still confirmed to the highest court in the land despite Hill’s allegation.
On Sept. 24, news of two more alleged victims came out, with one telling her account to The New Yorker reporters Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer. Deborah Ramirez, who once attended Yale University with Kavanaugh, said that he exposed himself and touched her with his genitalia at a dorm party nearly 35 years ago.
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” Kavanaugh said via a statement. “The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name - and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building - against these last-minute allegations.”
While this was going on, another accusation was made via lawyer Michael Avenatti, most known for representing Stormy Daniels. He is claiming that there is an anonymous accuser who has worked with the U.S. State Department with government clearance. Avenatti has also claimed that Kavanaugh is linked to gang rape in the 1980s, an accusation the SCOTUS nominee denies.
One person firmly supporting Kavanaugh is President Donald Trump, the man who nominated the judge to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He posted the following tweets on his Twitter timeline:
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C. …
“…I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place! …
“…The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago? …
“…Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months, only to release it with a bang after the hearings were OVER - done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist & Delay. Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!”
These tweets did not fare well with liberals, who in turn blasted Trump for his indifference to someone who has come forward with an attempted sex assault allegation.
“In reality, seven out of every 10 victims don't report to the police,” RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) posted in response to one of Trump’s tweets on Twitter.
Since Trump’s tweets were posted, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport has been trending on social media, with celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Mira Sorvino sharing their stories.