Conservative US judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court Saturday by a razor-thin margin in the Senate, ending months of partisan rancor over his nomination and offering Donald Trump one of the biggest victories of his presidency.
The final vote on Kavanaugh came amid raucous protests in the Senate chamber itself and far beyond.
But the Kavanaugh spectacle, fueled by extraordinary accusations and counter-claims in nationally televised hearings, and tense battles over an 11th-hour FBI investigation to address the assault allegations, has inflamed political passions. A total of 164 people were arrested in the protests, US Capitol Police said.
Likewise, Kavanaugh's confirmation drew praise from President Donald Trump and his confidants.
Trump, flying to Kansas for a political rally, flashed a thumbs-up gesture when the tally was announced and praised Kavanaugh for being "able to withstand this awful, frightful attack by the Democrats". He later telephoned his congratulations to the new justice, then at the rally returned to his own attack on the Democrats as "an angry left-wing mob".
In a separate appearance on CBS News's "Face the Nation", the majority leader predicted that the anti-Kavanaugh protests will backfire by energizing the Republican base in the November 6 mid-term elections, in which the GOP is looking to hang on to its majorities in the House and Senate.
Controversial US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was approved by a majority of the Senate on Saturday afternoon after weeks of tension in Washington. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible.
And Senator Mitch McConnell said it was more than just a victory for Kavanaugh himself. 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".
The justices themselves made a quiet show of solidarity.
The choice of Kavanaugh to replace retired justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.
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She acknowledged the anguish of the protesters who interrupted the historic Senate vote, telling reporters afterwards: "I was closing my eyes and praying - praying for them, praying for us and praying for the country".
"Of the various 1,200 appointments who come to us for confirmation, obviously the most important are the lifetime appointments to the courts and we prioritize handling President Trump's outstanding nominees for the Supreme Court".
Trump has long said one of his top goals is to re-make the Supreme Court, and he has now installed two new justices on the nine-member panel.
If the road to Kavanaugh joining the Supreme Court was ugly, the path doesn't open up from here.
Kavanaugh, a father of two, strenuously denied the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford, who says he sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is also a vote to send a clear message about what the Senate is.
"The mob descended on Capitol Hill and tried to intimidate our members into opposing this good man's nomination". Hangers and worse have been delivered to their offices, a Roe v. Wade reference.
When McConnell was asked how he thought Kavanaugh's confirmation, and the national debate around sexual assault surrounding it, would affect the way women voters view the Republican Party, he indicated he did not see a problem.
Trump will host Kavanaugh at the White House for a public swearing-in ceremony on Monday, following Saturday's formal oath-taking at the high court. At one point in the hearing, Kavanaugh blamed a Clinton-revenge conspiracy for the accusations against him.