Grassley told reporters that he did not agree with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's recent comments that with Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the court might no longer have a center vote. "The tactics have energized our base", he told the Washington Post.
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also looked ahead to the mid-terms, and appealed to voters beyond the Senate chamber: "Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box".
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Demonstrators began shouting "I do not consent" as the roll call on Kavanaugh began.
Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seems destined to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side. People on the steps of the Capitol chanted "vote them out!" and "the whole world is watching", messages that at times met with jeers and boos from others in the crowd.
His nomination and subsequent confirmation have provoked widespread and furious protests from women across the United States and the wider world, at a time when the Me Too movement is more prominent in our society than ever before.
Even before the sexual assault charges surfaced, Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate were fighting hard to stop Kavanaugh, saying his conservative judicial philosophy could result in rolling back abortion rights, gay rights and protections for immigrants.
The vote came in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, less than 30 hours after the Senate invoked cloture late Friday morning to end an attempted filibuster by Senate Democrats and one Republican, Sen.
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Pumping their fists and carrying signs, a few hundred people climbed the east steps of the Capitol for the demonstration.
But Kavanaugh's nomination languished for three years as Democrats fumed over his participation in Bush's recount team. During the hearing, some of Kavanaugh's testimony appeared blatantly political - in one instance he called the handling of the accusation "a calculated and orchestrated political hit".
The fight ended up less about judicial views than the sexual assault accusations that riveted the nation and are certain to continue a national debate and #MeToo reckoning that is yet to be resolved.
Fifty senators voted in favour, with 48 against, to appoint 53-year-old Mr Kavanaugh to the court for life. Democrats dismissed the truncated report as insufficient. Trump on Saturday called Collins an "honorable, incredible woman". Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sen.
"We're taking back Maine's Senate seat, and claiming it for someone who knows how to listen to her constituents", tweeted Mainers for Accountable Leadership, which organized protests at Collins' office.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) was in his home state during the final vote, walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. That balanced out the absence without affecting the outcome, and gave Kavanaugh the same two-vote margin he'd have received had both lawmakers voted. Several shouted "Shame! Shame!" or stated that they were sexual assault survivors. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Friday that she would join nearly all Senate Republicans to support him after the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that it could not corroborate the sexual-misconduct accusations. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced they would support him.
A procedural vote Friday made Saturday's confirmation a foregone conclusion. He worked for Ken Starr's investigation, served on Bush's legal team during the 2000 recount fight, and held key roles in the Bush White House.
Americans from both sides took to Twitter to comment on the confirmation.