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Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as Supreme Court Justice

After a bitter three-month battle that riveted the nation and highlighted the deep divisions in American politics, Brett Kavanaugh won Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court by a party-line vote of 50-48. Kavanaugh's July nomination, by President Donald Trump, set off one of the most rancorous Supreme Court fights in U.S. history.

The tally was largely along party lines, with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia the lone Democrat supporting Kavanaugh. Republican Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, voted "present." Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) missed the vote due to his daughter's wedding.

After an initial confirmation hearing attended by a group of current and former basketball players coached by the nominee, Kavanaugh's nomination was roiled by allegations of personal misconduct dating to his high school and college years. At the request of Sen. Jeff Flake — a Republican who was critical of President Donald Trump’s choice but who wound up voting with his party to confirm Kavanaugh the Senate Judiciary Committee held a second hearing to review the accusations and the FBI reopened its background check in response to concerns raised by senators on both sides of the aisle.

Currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh will fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy earlier this year. He is expected to be a reliable conservative vote on a court that, under Chief Justice John Roberts, has moved farther to the right than it has been in decades.