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U.S. Senate votes to confirm Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

U.S. Senate votes to confirm Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

After Bush became president, he recruited Kavanaugh to become his legal counsel before naming him in 2003 to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, seen as the second most important court after the Supreme Court.

The outcome, telegraphed Friday when the final undeclared senators revealed their views, was devoid of the shocks that had come nearly daily since Christine Blasey Ford said last month that an inebriated Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a 1982 high school get-together.

The Senate is expected to vote soon to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. "He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States".

The confirmation means Trump has succeeded in having his two picks seated on the court - tilting it decidedly to the right in a major coup for the Republican leader less than halfway through his term.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is giving his closing argument for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Vice-President Mike Pence presided over the roll call, his potential tie-breaking vote unnecessary. Trump's aggressive defense of Kavanaugh - and more recent attacks against his female accuser - have resonated particularly with white working-class men, who are a shrinking voting bloc nationally but remain a critical segment of Trump's political base.

"An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word", they said in a statement quoted in United States media.

A few hundred protesters are gathering outside the Capitol before the vote.

As protesters chanted "Shame!" and "November is coming!" police took several dozen down the steps and put them in plastic flex-cuffs. "Vote them out!" and carried signs including, "I am a survivor, not a troublemaker!"

Allegations against Kavanaugh arose late in the confirmation process that he sexually abused women decades ago. Earlier in the day, Cornyn told a group of reporters that this has "not been the Senate's finest hour", and said that "a better path forward" is needed.

In a statement, the Supreme Court said Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Constitutional Oath and retired Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh is replacing, will administer the Judicial Oath in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed the nomination with a vote of 50-48.

While many Republicans said they were satisfied with the FBI probe, Democrats and Blasey Ford's lawyers called the investigation insufficient.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly battled with Trump and will retire in January, said he, too, planned to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Joe Manchin is facing a hard re-election campaign in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide.

The rare procedural manoeuvre left Mr Kavanaugh with the same two-vote margin he would have had if Ms Murkowski and Mr Daines had both voted.

Authorities took the rare step of putting up low metal fences around the Capitol, keeping the public some distance from the building.

A much larger crowd of protesters is watching the demonstration from behind a barricade.

He's said: "It's a very exciting time".