Brett Kavanaugh fight leaves a nation divided: Balance of power extra

Maine House of Representatives									Sara Gideon

Butterfield said the 50-48 confirmation vote marks "the disturbing culmination of a longtime conservative legal movement and a Republican majority so hell-bent on advancing their agenda that they rammed through a Supreme Court nominee amid disturbing allegations that have yet to be fully addressed or investigated".

As Chief Justice John Roberts swore in Mr 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 Lady Justice statue.

However, early September an American professor of psychology Christine Blasey Ford had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault leading to a wrenching debate that captivated the attention of many.

US President Donald Trump at a Kansas rally celebrated the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, condemning Democrats for what he called a "shameless campaign of political and personal destruction" against his nominee.

Kavanaugh succeeds retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was often the decisive swing vote on social issues.

With next month's crucial mid-term elections on the horizon, analysts will be looking to see whether it influences the vote.

Republicans, on the other hand, touted Kavanaugh's fair judicial record and pointed to an FBI investigation that they say found no proof of the claims.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reversed course on his own rules that prevented Merrick Garland from becoming a Supreme Court Justice.

Kavanaugh's nomination seals a conservative majority on the nine-seat high court, possibly for decades to come.

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"There's nothing quite like a good old-fashioned Supreme Court fight to polarise the electorate - and that's what we've observed in the past few weeks", said David Wasserman, House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

These included the emergence of two other accusers; an unforgettable Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which a composed Ford and a seething Kavanaugh told their diametrically opposed stories, and a truncated FBI investigation that the agency said showed no corroborating evidence and Democrats lambasted as a White House-shackled farce.

Coons, instead, turned his attention to Trump for mocking Ford last week and said the Kavanaugh controversy was an indictment of the president's character as much as it was a battle within the Senate, coming as more women are speaking up about harrowing experiences.

Anger: The claims by Christine Blasey Ford divided the USA and sparked protests in her support.

Kavanaugh had served as associate counsel and staff secretary under Bush, who has repeatedly praised him as a candidate for the Supreme Court. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, announced they, too, would support Kavanaugh.

She gave a 45-minute speech on the Senate floor on Friday committing to voting "yes" for Kavanaugh's nomination.

Mr McConnell added: "The energy level is high". Capitol police dragged some screaming protesters out of the chamber.

Hundreds of protesters were arrested on Capitol Hill this week - including several dozen in the hours leading to the final vote. But they were not immediately visible in the area around the legislature.

But Democrats hope women angered at the Kavanaugh accusations will turn out in large numbers to vote out Republicans.

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