Following a contentious and tumultuous confirmation process involving sexual assault allegations made by three women, the U.S. Senate voted Saturday to place Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court for a lifetime appointment.
Kavanaugh, President Trump‘s second conservative nominee voted onto the highest court in the land, is expected to help shift legal decisions to the right, resulting in threatened protections involving abortion rights, healthcare, presidential power and gun control, among others.
The vote, which was briefly interrupted by protestors, was for the most part along party lines. Alaska’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted no while West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat up for re-election in November, voted yes. The total vote was confirmed with a tally of 50 to 48.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who had been considered swing votes, said Friday they would vote yes.
The confirmation comes after hours of debate — and despite unprecedented opposition following Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony last week involving an angry screed that included a wild conspiracy theory behind the sexual assault allegations.
A retired (and Republican-appointed) Supreme Court justice previously said Kavanaugh doesn’t have the temperment for the job, and more than 2,400 law professors called his demeanor “unfathomable.” Former Yale classmates have accused Kavanaugh of lying under oath about his drinking.
Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators protesting Kavanaugh flooded Washington, D.C., and other big cities in the last weeks, resulting in mass demonstrations and numerous arrests.
Flake, who is not running for re-election, put a temporary hold on Kavanaugh’s confirmation eight days ago when he requested an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations leveled by three women against Kavanaugh. (Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations.)
While many Republicans said they were satisfied with the FBI report, critics have pointed out that it’s far from a complete investigation.
Democrats say the White House put numerous restrictions on who the FBI could interview, and the agency reportedly did not speak with multiple witnesses who say they could corroborate sexual abuse and other allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, said Friday that “the available (FBI) documents contradict statements Mr. Kavanaugh made under oath.”
The confirmation vote came as Trump, himself accused by well over a dozen women of sexual assault and misconduct, mocked Ford at a political rally. (Trump has denied the allegations against him.)
“My heart breaks for all those who will continue to live in fear and shame that their stories, their pain, their lives are less important than male privilege and power,” a friend of Ford’s tells PEOPLE. “Justice has not been served, in the service of the latest Justice of the Supreme Court, and all those like him.”
If you or someone you care about is affected by sexual violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).