The Senate has voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, 53, as the next Supreme Court justice.
The Senate voted 50-48, reaching the simple majority needed to confirm Kavanaugh. While the votes largely fell along party lines, four senators were watched as swing voters, either because of their tendency to break with their party or because they voiced concerns about the nominee. These senators were Susan Collins (R–Maine), Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D–W.V.), and Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska).
The nomination process took a turn toward scandal at the end, when research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of holding her down and forcefully groping her at a high school party in the 1980s. After her allegation became public, other women came forward with accusations of wrongdoing.
Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy who announced in June that he would be retiring from his seat. Appointed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, Kennedy was a frequent tie-breaking vote who helped decide major cases on gay rights, abortion, and other issues.
Kavanaugh already has a long record of jurisprudence, having written opinions on gun rights, searches and seizures, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission while serving as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He dissented in 2011's Seven-Sky v. Holder, the case that considered the constitutionality of Obamacare—Kavanaugh argued that the Anti-Injunction Act of 1867 should have prevented the court from hearing the case.
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