Category: USA

Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to US supreme court after Senate votes in favour

Brett Kavanaugh

Sabrina Siddiqui and Lauren Gambino write:

The US Senate has voted to confirm judge Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court, handing Donald Trump a major victory and America a bench expected to tilt to the right for the next generation.

The vote was almost a foregone conclusion after the dominant Republican party secured majority support during a procedural vote on Friday amid crackling tension, furious protests and high drama on Capitol Hill.

But the final vote was still a monumental development in a sharply divided America. It came down to stark political loyalties in the face of multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh from his past, which brought up current questions about his honesty, temperament and partisanship during testimony.

Kavanaugh has strongly denied all allegations of such misconduct. Votes fell almost entirely along party lines and the nomination passed narrowly, 50-48. The vote was interrupted for a short time by protesters in the gallery.

Moments before the vote, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said “Brett Kavanaugh does not deserve to be on the bench” and said he had “repeatedly misled the Senate”.

Kavanaugh, Schumer said, is against “environmental protections, women’s rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, Native American rights, healthcare protections and workers’ rights.”

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said many across the political spectrum describe Kavanaugh as “a superstar and a legendary scholar” and described him as being of “excellent” temperament and judicial philosophy.

The conservative victory capped a triumphant week for the president. Trump strong-armed a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which the markets loved, marked the lowest unemployment rate in the US since 1969, at just 3.7%, and secured the second ultra-conservative supreme court nomination of his administration, after putting Neil Gorsuch on the bench last year. Although, in another roller coaster week for the White House, Trump was hit by a huge investigation by the New York Times that described dubious aspects of his past financial background and prompted the New York tax authorities to begin an investigation.

Serena Williams: ‘I don’t understand coach’s claims’

Serena Williams

Serena Williams says she wants to move on from her controversial US Open final defeat by Naomi Osaka.

In the final, the American was given a code violation for coaching, incurred a point penalty for racquet smashing and was docked a game for verbal abuse.

Williams denies she was being coached from the stands, despite her coach Patrick Mouratoglou saying he was sending her signals.

“I just don’t understand what he was talking about,” Williams said.

Williams, who was aiming to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, said she had not received any tactics from Mouratoglou, telling the umpire she would “never cheat to win and would rather lose”.

Speaking to The Sunday Project on Australia’s Network Ten, she added: “I asked him (Mouratoglou) ‘what are you talking about you were coaching? We don’t have signals, we’ve never had signals’.

“He said he made a motion. So I was like ‘you made a motion and now you told people that you’re coaching me – that doesn’t make sense, why would you say that?’

“I was on the other side. I didn’t see the motion. It was just a really confusing moment, I think, for him.

“What I’m trying to do most of all is to recover from that and move on.”

Following the accusation of coaching, Williams was punished for racquet smashing and verbal abuse, following several outbursts that saw her call the umpire a “liar” and “thief”.

Williams did not answer when questioned about whether she regretted breaking her racquet on the court.

Following the final she was fined $17,000 (£13,100) for the code violations.