WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday, a move that included the support of U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas.
The confirmation brought to a close one of the ugliest, most contentious chapters of recent American political life. Kavanaugh appeared to be on track for an easy confirmation that could have included a handful of Democratic votes. But then allegations emerged from a California professor named Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school. The nomination fell into turmoil and members of both parties were as much at each other's throats as any point in modern Senate history.
For the most part, Cornyn — the second-ranking Republican in the Senate — was a chief defender of Kavanaugh. Cruz, often the more bombastic of the two Texas senators, kept a much lower profile — he's facing a tough Democratic challenger in his reelection bid — but ultimately voted for Kavanaugh and vouched for his old friend's temperament in an interview with CBS News.
The final vote was 50 to 48. It fell mostly along party lines, with two exceptions: Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia backed the Kavanauh confirmation. Initially, Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with the opposition. But given that the vote would not change the outcome of the confirmation, she withdrew her vote in order to allow passage upon the absence of U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican who missed the vote to attend his daughter's wedding.