President Donald Trump celebrated the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court at a rally in Kansas on Saturday, condemning Democrats for what he called a "shameless campaign of political and personal destruction" against Kavanaugh.
As Chief Justice John Roberts swore in Kavanaugh during a private Supreme Court ceremony, protesters demonstrated loudly outside, at one point rushing the steps of the court and banging on its ornate bronze doors while some sat on a Contemplation of Justice statue.
The 53 year old will be sworn in later on Saturday at the Supreme Court.
On Saturday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Kavanaugh by 50-48 votes, which was mostly on party lines.
Ford testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh had drunkenly attacked her at a party when they were teenagers in the early 1980s. Notably, neither Ford nor Kavanaugh spoke with the Bureau for the probe. He expressed empathy for sexual assault victims, but said that after factoring in the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, "I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution".
"This is one of the reasons I chose him is because there is no one with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh".
The climactic 50-48 roll call capped a fight that seized the national conversation after claims emerged that he had sexually assaulted women three decades ago - allegations he emphatically denied.
The hearing triggered a "limited" FBI investigation into the allegations.
Announcements by Republican Susan Collins of ME and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia that they'll support the conservative jurist made Saturday's confirmation vote a formality, an anticlimactic finale to a battle that riveted the nation for almost a month.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One while flying to a campaign rally in Kansas, Trump said of Kavanaugh: "We're very honoured that he was able to withstand this frightful, terrible attack by the Democrats". Democrats were sharply critical of the investigation and the report that it produced, noting that the FBI had not interviewed either Blasey Ford or Kavanaugh.
In a procedural vote Friday that handed Republicans an initial victory, senators voted 51-49 to limit debate, defeating Democratic efforts to scuttle the nomination with endless delays.
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It was not immediately clear if Kavanaugh dropped out due to anticipation that he would be serving on the Supreme Court. PHOTO: Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018.
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That would let Kavanaugh win by the same two-vote margin he'd have received had both senators voted.
Susan Collins on Friday was dubbed a "rape apologist" by a women's activist group amid her decision to support the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"We must listen to survivors", Collins declared Friday in a sweeping Senate floor speech about doing the right thing, moments before pledging to vote for Kavanaugh.
The New York Democrat also blasted the "biased, unfair" confirmation process and urged Americans to vote.
But even if there was little suspense at Saturday's final vote, there was still plenty of theater, both inside and outside the Capitol.
Hundreds of protesters against Kavanaugh gathered on the grounds of the Capitol and at the Supreme Court.
"The Senate is about to elevate a nominee who doesn't belong on the nation's highest bench", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the confirmation vote, adding that the judge is an "extreme partisan" with an "injudicious demeanor".
Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from NY, urged Americans who were dissatisfied with the confirmation to go to the polls in November and "vote". McConnell extolled Kavanaugh as a "superstar, a serious scholar" who is "legendary for his preparation and possesses the qualifications, the temperament and judicial philosophy" to be a brilliant justice.
The nine-member Supreme Court decides matters that shape the country's politics.
As Pence attempted to begin the vote, the proceedings were periodically interrupted by protesters in the gallery, who often shouted loudly before they were removed from the room.
When she finished, Collins received applause from the roughly two dozen GOP senators present. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who was instead attending his daughter's wedding.
Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice on Saturday evening in Washington.