Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump is expected to win on Saturday a hard-fought victory with the expected confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who should satisfy his conservative electorate one month to the day of risky elections.
The Senate, mandated to give the green light for the life appointments within the temple of the American right, must vote in after 15H30 (19H30 GMT) on the candidacy of the magistrate of 53 years, after a process of chaotic confirmation, accused of sexual assault as a teenager.
Barring a dramatic change, a narrow majority of senators should validate his appointment. With the exception of one elected in each camp, the Republicans should all vote for and the Democrats against.
The judge should take an oath in the following days and join the highest court of the United States, which verifies the constitutionality of laws and arbitrates the most thorny conflicts of American society (right to abortion, death penalty, supervision of firearms, same-sex marriage, protection of the environment …).
The arrival of this fervent defender of conservative values will put progressive judges – four out of nine – in the minority for decades in the high court.
“It’s a great day for America,” said Fox News Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, congratulating his colleagues for “refusing to give in to all this intense pressure.”
This is a setback for the Democrats and civil rights activists who mobilized since his appointment in July to try to prevent its confirmation, with media campaigns or demonstrations, particularly targeted at moderate senators.
– “Nothing” in the report –
Despite their efforts, Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant magistrate, was on track to be confirmed when a woman emerged from the shadows in mid-September and accused her of an attempted rape dating back to an evening between high school students in 1982.
These claims have been like a thunderbolt in a country sensitized to the issue of sexual violence since the denunciation of the producer Harvey Weinstein and dozens of men of power in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
At a Senate hearing attended by 20 million Americans, Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old academic, said she was “100% sure” of being attacked by young Kavanaugh when she was was only 15 and he was 17.
In anger, the magistrate said in the wake of just as certain of his innocence and posed as a victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by the extreme left.
Faced with two irreconcilable truths, the Senate had, under the pressure of undecided elected officials, asked for further investigation to the Federal Police (FBI), which made its copy Wednesday night.
The report backed the Republicans, who found “nothing” compromising. They immediately started the final phase of the confirmation process.
Mrs Ford’s lawyers, for their part, considered that the further investigation was unsatisfactory. “An FBI investigation that did not involve interviews with Dr. Ford and with Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation,” they said in a statement.
– “Not the good man” –
On Friday, the senators, during a procedural vote, decided to close their debates and revealed at the same time their decision.
However, of the four elected officials who have so far reserved their position, three – Republicans Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, as well as Democrat Joe Manchin – have said they will vote for Judge Kavanaugh, tipping the scales. in his favour.
In the presidential camp, only Lisa Murkowski intends to defect. “Brett Kavanaugh is not the right man for the court right now,” she told reporters.
Friday night, she told the Senate: “My hope is that (Judge Kavanaugh) will be a neutral referee (…) that it will be this strength of stability”.
Susan Collins justified her choice in a long speech in front of her colleagues. She pointed out that Justice Kavanaugh was entitled to “the presumption of innocence” and that there was no evidence to support the charges against him.
While acknowledging that Ms. Ford’s testimony was sincere, painful and powerful, Ms. Collins stated, “I do not believe that these charges could fairly prevent Kavanaugh J. from serving in the Court”.
It should not be concluded that the Senate does not take the issue of sexual violence seriously, the senator added.
The feminist organization Equality Now has not been convinced. “If the Senate confirms Kavanaugh, it will send a clear and demoralizing message to Americans: if you are sexually assaulted, it is better to remain silent,” she said.
It remains to see the impact of this vote on the parliamentary elections of November 6: will it push women to vote for Democrats? Will the Conservatives want to thank the Republicans or will they demobilize now that their request is satisfied? Answer in a month.