On Saturday afternoon, following weeks of salacious national coverage regarding allegations of sexual assault against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the United States Senate voted. The final tally was 50 “ayes” to 48 “nays.”
Prior to the vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave a speech on the floor of the senate hailing Kavanaugh as a “meticulous and dedicated public servant,” adding:
And yes, we have now studied the results of seven, seven FBI background investigations – inquiries that have produced no evidence whatsoever to corroborate any prior misconduct, but rather are consistent with all we know about this nominee’s sterling character. This historically tall mountain of evidence adds up to one clear message: Judge Brett Kavanaugh is among the very best our nation has to offer. He will make the senate and the country proud. He will serve with distinction on our highest court. He unquestionably deserves confirmation and the country deserves such a Supreme Court Justice.
McConnell spoke about the heated nature of the nomination process, noting that the stakes were “a lot higher” with Brett Kavanaugh. He then pulled a quote from Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) Friday testimony in which she said that “when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.”
We all know the events of recent weeks have strained the country’s comity and fanned the flames of partisan discord, but even more critically, our very commitment to the basic principles of fairness and justice is also being tested…
A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is also a vote to send a clear message about what the Senate is. This is an institution where the evidence and the facts matter. This is an institution where the evidence and the facts matter. This is the chamber in which the politics of intimidation and personal destruction do not win the day. This is the body whose members themselves uphold the same commitment to American justice that we seek in the judges we examine.
A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate’s history and turn the page toward a brighter tomorrow.
McConnell then stated that as a deliberative body, the Senate could “vote to turn away from the darkness” and “set a precedent about fairness and judgement” by voting for Brett Kavanaugh.
Following McConnell’s speech, Vice President Mike Pence allowed the vote to proceed.
At that time, multiple protesters began screaming. The vice president asked repeatedly that order be restored in the galleries. After a gaggle of protesters were removed, and the votes were being tallied once again, more protesters interrupted, chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”
The tally proceeded with other interruptions throughout. Kavanaugh was then confirmed by a vote of 50-48.
During the vote, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who was set to vote against Kavanaugh, “paired” with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), who was set to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, but was attending his daughter’s wedding, and couldn’t be at the Capitol on Saturday.
Murkowski stated: “With my friend, the Senator from Montana, Mr. Daines, who is walking his daughter down the aisle this afternoon, if he were present and voting, he would have voted ‘aye.’ I have voted ‘no.’ The pair will not change the outcome of the vote; I therefore withdraw my vote.”
This pairing neutralized the votes of Senators Murkowski and Daines without changing the result, allowing Daines to be with his daughter.
Shortly after the vote, President Trump tweeted a congratulation to the Senate, adding that he would quickly “sign [Kavanaugh’s] Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in.”