Senators voting to eventually confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court were forced repeatedly to stop so that protesters could be cleared from the room.
Collins – a moderate Republican from ME – said Kavanaugh was entitled to the “presumption of innocence” as the allegations against him had not been substantiated.
Rep. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, confronting a tough re-election race next month in a state that Trump won in 2016 by a landslide, was the sole Democrat to vote for Kavanaugh. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) withdrew her vote. Sen.
The final vote was interrupted several times by protesters as senators sat silent at their desks for the formal roll call vote.
Kavanaugh was officially sworn-in during a private event at the Supreme Court on Saturday. Some disrupted the vote in the Senate chambers.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who helped push through Kavanaugh’s nomination despite moments where it looked like it could fail, effusively praised Kavanaugh.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh returns from a break in his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who also opposed Kavanaugh, said on Twitter that he is “furious” with Kavanaugh’s confirmation and that “it will change our country forever”.
After the vote, the president called Kavanaugh to congratulate him, the White House said in a statement. The letter criticized Kavanaugh’s temperament during questioning about Ford’s allegations.
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.
Kavanaugh had been accused by three women of sexual misconduct while he was in high school and college more than 30 years ago – charges he angrily denied.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 on party lines on September 28 to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.
Demonstrators chanted “November is coming” and “We believe survivors”.
The quick swearing-in enables Kavanaugh to begin work immediately in advance of arguments at the court Tuesday.
The rare procedural manoeuvre left Mr Kavanaugh with the same two-vote margin he would have had if Ms Murkowski and Mr Daines had both voted.
Drake University law professor Sally Frank, who signed the letter, said she had opposed Kavanaugh even before the hearings based on his judicial philosophy, but was more invigorated since. He continued that “there was no new information or evidence provided in the report that would change my earlier decision to vote for Judge Kavanaugh”.
Trump is visiting Topeka for a Saturday evening fundraiser and rally for Kris Kobach, the controversial secretary of state running for Kansas governor, and Steve Watkins, the GOP nominee in a key congressional race there.
The letter specifically referenced a period during Kavanaugh’s opening statements September 27 when he called the hearings “a calculated and orchestrated political hit”.