Overcoming unprecedented opposition, Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as US Supreme Court judge

Watch live: Final Senate vote on Kavanaugh nomination

Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in as a US Supreme Court justice, hours after the Senate narrowly confirmed his appointment following a battle that rubbed raw the country's cultural, gender and political divides.

Earlier, Capitol Police said 14 people were arrested for protests in the Senate Gallery, 13 during the successful vote to confirm Kavanaugh and one a short time earlier.

She acknowledged the anguish of the protesters who interrupted the historic Senate vote, telling reporters afterwards that "I was closing my eyes and praying".

In a much-watched, televised vote Saturday afternoon, senators voted 50-48 to confirm President Trump's pick to the High Court.

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. Vice President Mike Pence presided over the roll call, his potential tie-breaking vote unnecessary.

Ahead of the vote, hundreds of people protesting against Mr Kavanaugh's nomination demonstrated at the US Capitol in Washington.

The most high profile of these allegations was that of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California university professor who claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a high school party in the summer of 1982.

Ford's claims led to a Senate hearing where both she and the judge testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee. and a brief follow-up FBI investigation authorized by the Prez.

Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia crossed the aisle to support Kavanaugh in the hope of flattening a hurdle to his re-election in a deep red state that Trump won in a landslide.

With his second Supreme Court nominee approved by the Senate, President Donald Trump has secured yet another victory that will in all probability boost GOP results in next month's midterm elections. And the nature of the fight over Kavanaugh will trigger recriminations inside the Senate and political reverberations outside for years to come.

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Kavanaugh will replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, long considered the crucial swing "fifth vote" on the Court.

Kavanaugh, in an opinion piece published this week in The Wall Street Journal, said he views his role as a judge as that of "an umpire - a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no political party, litigant or policy".

After Ford's allegations, Democrats and their allies became engaged as seldom before, though there were obvious echoes of Thomas' combative confirmation over the sexual harassment accusations of Anita Hill, who worked for him at two federal agencies.

Democratic Senator Edward Markey countered, saying Kavanaugh has been a "rubber stamp for a far right-wing agenda".

On Friday, the Senate had voted 51-49 to close the debate and to proceed to the confirmation vote itself on Saturday.

"He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States".

The judge, who is a darling of the Republican and libertarian organisation the Federalist Society, has been the subject of a host of sexual assault allegations since being nominated by USA president Donald Trump.

"Very late in the confirmation process serious allegations were made against Judge Kavanaugh". At one point in the hearing, Kavanaugh blamed a Clinton-revenge conspiracy for the accusations against him. Chants of "shame" could be heard throughout the vote.

Murkowski voted "present", offsetting the absence of Kavanaugh supporter Steve Daines of Montana, who was attending his daughter's wedding. But in an act of courtesy to Daines, Alaska's pro-abortion Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski withdrew her vote which would have been against Kavanaugh.

"Since right from the moment we announced, radical Democrats launched a disgraceful campaign to resist, obstruct, delay, demolish and destroy, right from the beginning", Trump said. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Judiciary Committee, argued on the floor, "This investigation found no hint of misconduct".

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