On Saturday, Republicans did the thing they set out to do after Justice Kennedy announced his retirement: confirm Donald Trump’s nominee, no matter how ill-tempered or dishonest, no matter what the cost to the American public for generations to come.
The Senate split the vote along largely partisan lines 50-48, with Sen. Joe Manchin as the only Democrat voting with Republicans.
Republicans, who have a one-person majority in the Senate (and the backing of a Republican president), controlled the hearings from the start: They set the timeline on his initial confirmation hearings. They controlled the timeline for the secondary hearing after Christine Blasey Ford came forward alleging that Kavanaugh assaulted her when he was 17 and she was 15. Once they agreed to the hearing, Republicans hired Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford, functionally turning it into a trial.
After they barreled through the hearings without hearing testimony from key witnesses who came forward with relevant experiences, they voted to move forward with the confirmation vote. The White House then ordered a sham FBI investigation, limited to less than seven days, in which the FBI ignored dozens of men and women who came forward with accounts corroborating allegations of Kavanaugh’s behavior and clear untruths in his testimony. The FBI did not interview Ford or Kavanaugh. The FBI released its report a day ahead of schedule, and shared only one copy with 100 senators, which was kept in a highly secured room. Republicans, including those who were previously undecided, were satisfied with the findings; Sen. Susan Collins called the investigation “very thorough,” while Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said the report provided “no additional corroborating information.”
Throughout the process, Republicans engaged in remarkable theatrics: some cried for women while voting to silence them; others openly scorned them. Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted “present” to offset the absence of Sen. Steve Daines, who was at his daughter’s wedding. On Friday, Murkowski, said, “I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man...But it just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”
As the vote took place, protests erupted outside; inside, the final vote was interrupted several times by protesters. According to CNN, one protester yelled, “I do not consent, where’s my representation.” Kavanaugh was confirmed anyway, over the shouts of women.
Brett Kavanaugh is here to stay.