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 worked as a journalist for more than thirty years and was formerly Assistant Editor of MoneyWeek, which she helped launch in 2000. Prior to this, she was Deputy Features Editor of The Times and a Commissioning Editor for The Independent on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph. She has written for most of the national newspapers including The Times, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Daily Mail, She interviewed celebrities weekly for The Sunday Telegraph and wrote a regular column for The Evening Standard. As Political Editor of MoneyWeek, Emily has covered subjects from Brexit to the Gaza war.

Aside from her writing, Emily trained as Nutritional Therapist following her son's diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2011 and now works as a practitioner for Nature Doc, offering one-to-one consultations and running workshops in Oxfordshire.