Mitch McConnell dodges question on Supreme Court nomination in 2020 election

In an unusual weekend session, the U.S. Senate advances to a final vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the court on 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 bitter battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court has exacerbated the nation's political divide and left many Americans emotionally raw.

Judge Kavanaugh will be able to start work quickly, with his attention first turned to arguments at the court on Tuesday on two cases involving prison sentences for repeat offenders.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland noted that several key issues framing the Nov 6 vote could all come before a Supreme Court pitched to the right by Kavanaugh's presence.

A hastily conducted FBI investigation cleared the way for the Senate confirmation of Mr Kavanaugh, which ended up being a vote nearly strictly down party lines.

Sen. Jeff Flake, a retiring senator and frequent thorn in the side of Trump, achieved a delay long enough for an FBI to reopen its background investigation of the nominee.

Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in at the court building, across the street from the Capitol, even as protesters chanted outside.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to break ranks in Friday's cloture vote. "The democrats have become too extreme and too unsafe to govern", Trump said.

But before reporters dug into that, she was asked about her husband calling African countries "shitholes", saying "I never heard him saying those comments".

Butterfield said the 50-48 confirmation vote marks "the disturbing culmination of a longtime conservative legal movement and a Republican majority so hell-bent on advancing their agenda that they rammed through a Supreme Court nominee amid disturbing allegations that have yet to be fully addressed or investigated".

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY looked ahead to November, appealing to voters beyond the Senate chamber: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box".

His ascent to the Supreme Court was thrown into doubt last week after university research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified that he had sexually assaulted her at a Washington area party in the early 1980s. White House advisers are encouraging him to keep Kavanaugh in the spotlight in the campaign's final weeks.

Rice, who also served as the USA ambassador to the United Nations under Obama, said she appreciated the enthusiasm about her potential run, but said people who are angry about Kavanaugh should focus on the midterm elections.

His nomination was greeted by staunch protest in the District with thousands of anti-Kavanaugh protesters swarming Capitol Hill over the past week.

Kavanaugh's confirmation was stalled by accusations of sexual misconduct when he was in high school and college, but Collins and others said they were won over by his forceful denials and a supplemental Federal Bureau of Investigation report they say produced no evidence corroborating the claims.

Because, make no mistake, in an election cycle that may well turn out to be the year of the woman, the Republican Party's treatment of Christine Blasey Ford and other Kavanaugh accusers as well the conduct of party leaders like Chuck Grassely have made amply clear that the GOP is the party of men.

For now, many pollsters predict Democrats will regain control of the House of Representatives in November, while Republicans are touted to hold on to the Senate. "This whole thing is going to backfire", he said.

Democrats argue that some of the same tactics that helped energise Republican voters also motivate their base, particularly Donald Trump's attacks on Dr Ford. "Brett Kavanaugh is a man of great character and intellect".

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