Kavanaugh tips Supreme Court right

The US Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh amid one of the most bruising political encounters in recent memory.


Kavanaugh: long-cherished Republican dream
(Image credit: 2018 Getty Images)

After one of the most "bruising and divisive political battles in recent memory", the US Senate has confirmed Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court by a margin of 50 to 48, says Josh Glancy in the Times. In the end, neither high-profile accusations of past sexual misconduct nor the daily demonstrations against him "made a difference". Confirmation of the 53-year-old, who could remain in office for decades, represents the fulfilment of a "long-cherished Republican dream to remake the Supreme Court in a conservative mould".

It does, says Adam Liptak in the New York Times. The new majority five conservatives to four liberals is likely to shift the law to the right on "countless deeply contested issues from abortion to gun rights". The justices insist that they "apply neutral legal principles without regard to politics" but this has been undermined. Kavanaugh's own testimony was "laced with fiery attacks on Democrats". The court is also in growing danger of being seen as partisan. The conservative justices were all appointed by Republican presidents, the liberals by Democrats.

Trump didn't help by apologising to Kavanaugh and his family for their "pain and suffering", says Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post. The "uphill climb" to earn voters' trust was evident in the results of a CNN poll in which 51% opposed his confirmation, while 52% believed his accusers and think he lied about his past alcohol use.

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"An even greater conflagration may be coming," says Charlie Savage in the New York Times. Liberals are talking of ways to "eventually undo" the conservative bloc's power without waiting for a member to retire or die there has even been talk of trying to impeach Kavanaugh. This would be an "extraordinary violation of constitutional and political norms" and is unlikely, but the pressure may "make some of the conservative justices more cautious" on future rulings.

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.