Collins: I Believe Dr. Ford Was Assaulted But Not by Kavanaugh

Leah Millis  Reuters

Leah Millis Reuters

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who initially accused newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, revealed Friday their client will not pursue additional action against Kavanaugh.

Activists occupy the front steps of the US Supreme Court to protest against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. "And it happened all over the last two to three weeks". Those allegations magnified the clash from a routine Supreme Court struggle over judicial ideology into an angrier, more complex jumble of questions about victims' rights, the presumption of innocence and personal attacks on nominees. The Senate vote delivered an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country's cultural, gender and political divides.

The accusations against Kavanaugh energized the #MeToo social media movement that emerged after high-profile accusations of sexual assault and harassment by men in politics, the media and the entertainment industry.

He said Kavanaugh had withstood a "horrible, terrible attack" that "nobody should have to go through".

The nation's highest court officially has its ninth Supreme Court justice.

He predicted that Republicans would pick up Senate seats as a result. But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY forecast gains for his party instead: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box". Surveys of his prior court decisions show he would lean to the right of every justice aside from Clarence Thomas.

The Latest on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (all times local): 11:30 a.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling that a Republican-controlled Senate would act on President Donald Trump's nominee to... The only way we can get people to do what we think they should do is because people respect us, " Justice Elena Kagan said.

Hundreds of demonstrators protested on Capitol Hill, chanting "vote them out" and "November is coming".

But the more widely held expectation among court watchers is that Roberts, who joined with the liberal justices to uphold President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, will determine how far and fast the court moves. Yet Kavanaugh is joining under a cloud.

Democrats are hopeful of winning control of the House but the Senate is a long shot.

After Kavanaugh's name was put forward as a potential nominee for the vacant position on the court, Ford came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her under the influence of alcohol when they were in high school. Both Kavanaugh and Judge have denied Swetnick's allegations.

When the final vote, 50-48 was called a victory for Kavanaugh, one woman shouted: "This is a stain on America".

Senators are expected to be there in force from 15:30 in the lead-up to the vote.

McConnell told The Associated Press in an interview that the "mob" of opposition - confronting senators in the hallways and at their homes - united his narrowly divided GOP majority as Kavanaugh's confirmation teetered and will give momentum to his party this fall.

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

"This is one of the reasons I chose him is because there is no one with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh".

In North Dakota, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer has pulled comfortably ahead of Democratic Sen.

Once again, Lisa Murkowski was all alone.

The brutal hearing sparked a supplemental Federal Bureau of Investigation dive into Kavanaugh's background and a week-long delay of the Senate vote. Manchin announced a short while later that he would also vote for Kavanaugh, essentially guaranteeing that Kavanaugh would be confirmed. "If he were present and voting, he would have voted aye", Murkowski said during the roll call vote.

While the process was "unattractive", Trump also said Saturday that the extra week of investigation "was really a good thing" and said he believed the FBI report, which has not been made public, exonerated Kavanaugh.

In a sign of the tense mood at the Capitol, Republican Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas was interrupted twice by yelling from protesters in the Senate gallery, which is open to visitors.

Protesters could be heard shouting in the Senate chamber as Vice President Mike Pence presided over the final vote. "I believe she was and that that frightful experience has upended her life, but it does not mean that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant".

Kavanaugh had served as associate counsel and staff secretary under Bush, who has repeatedly praised him as a candidate for the Supreme Court. "But I think it will become a shorthand, at least on our side, for a double standard", said Sen. "We have a lot of work to do".

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