WASHINGTON — The Senate has confirmed Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, putting a second nominee from President Donald Trump on the highest court in the land.
Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 Saturday during a historic roll call vote in the Senate chamber. The two-vote margin is one of the narrowest ever for a Supreme Court nominee. The vote unfolded with protesters shouting from the gallery.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter, congratulating Kavanaugh on his confirmation to the Supreme Court. Trump said,
“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!”
State and local officials also responded to Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich shared his statement via Twitter, saying,
“America may have gained a new member of the Supreme Court, but a part of our nation’s soul was lost during this toxic process. The zero-sum game environment we are in today, where many are focused on winning at all costs instead of what’s best for our country, must end if we ever wish to begin healing these partisan divisions and tackling some of the most serious problems facing our nation.”
Saturday’s vote closes out a bitter struggle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, inflamed by accusations that he sexually assaulted women in the 1980s. Kavanaugh forcefully denied the accusations in sworn testimony.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman released the following statement after Kavanaugh’s confirmation:
“Brett Kavanaugh has the qualifications and experience necessary to ably serve on the Supreme Court and I was proud to support his nomination. I’ve known him for 18 years as someone who is thoughtful and compassionate, someone who has a big heart and has the humility to listen. Just as he has been highly regarded as a fair-minded and independent judge on the Circuit Court, I believe that is how he will be viewed on the Supreme Court.
As I said on the floor of the Senate, the confirmation process has become poisonous, and senators on both sides of the aisle need to work together to repair some of the damage to the institution and the country. It’s going to take time for the Senate and the country to heal from this ugly ordeal. But for now, let me make a modest suggestion. Let’s take a step back from the brink and lower the rhetoric. Let’s treat disagreements like disagreements, not as proof that our opponents are bad people. Let’s hold up quiet cooperation, as we saw this week with the opioid legislation instead of loud confrontation.”
Ohio Republican Representative Jim Renacci said,
“I’m pleased the Senate has confirmed Brett Kavanaugh. He is a thoughtful jurist with a proven respect for the Constitution. I believe he will make an excellent Supreme Court Justice.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Ohio gubernatorial candidate, Richard Cordray responded:
“Today’s vote was disheartening for so many of us — women and men alike — who are deeply troubled by the allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh, the partisan rancor we see in Washington, and the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court. And it’s appalling to see how survivors of sexual violence have been treated when they have the bravery to step forward and speak out. It’s crucial that we listen to their voices and not dismiss or ignore them.
Ohioans want a Supreme Court that will protect their access to health care, that will put fairness to workers and families ahead of powerful corporations and special interests, and that will respect a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. Today’s vote puts all of that at risk.
We must channel our anger and frustration into action, starting with this election. Mike DeWine has shown time after time that he cannot be trusted to stand up for women’s rights, or to stand up to President Trump when Ohio values are threatened. Now, more than ever, we need leaders in the Statehouse who will serve as a backstop for the fundamental rights that were once protected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Betty Sutton and I will be that backstop, and we will never hesitate to stand up for women’s rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, voting rights — all of our rights — when they are threatened.”
Brett Kavanaugh will soon don his robes as a justice. The Supreme Court says he will be sworn in later Saturday.
In a statement, the court says Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Constitutional Oath and retired Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will administer the Judicial Oath in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Both oaths will be administered so Kavanaugh can participate in the work of the court immediately.
A formal investiture ceremony will take place at a special sitting of the court at a later date.