Jones, Shelby Split on Kavanaugh Confirmation

Alabama’s senators, like most of the senators from across the country, split along party lines this weekend as the body voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the newest U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat from Alabama, decried the process that he called a “rush to confirmation” during a 25-minute address to the Senate before Friday’s vote to limit debate on the nomination. He lamented that millions of dollars had been spent both on campaigns to get Kavanaugh confirmed to the court and to block that confirmation.

“I think that this kind of political campaign for a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States, a political campaign run by either political party, should be condemned as completely contrary to the independence of the judicial branch of our government,” Jones said in his speech.

He said he believed Americans from both parties were “disgusted” by the political process.

“I am deeply disappointed and concerned by the process, the posturing and the partisanship that has degraded what should be one of the most serious, deliberate and thoughtful decisions that we as the United States Senate are entrusted to make,” he said.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, who at first took a “wait and see” approach to Kavanaugh’s nomination after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, supported the confirmation in the end.

“During the hearings, I found Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony to be credible,” Shelby said in a statement after the vote. “It is evident that the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh are uncorroborated, and there is no confirmation of any of the alleged misconduct,” he said.

Read more about the Senate’s 50-48 vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination and how senators voted on other key issues in the week ending Oct. 6, 2018. The House was in recess.



Confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Voting 50 for and 48 against, the Senate on Oct. 6 confirmed Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, 53, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat voting for Kavanaugh and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican present in the chamber who did not vote for him. Murkowski voted no when the roll was called, then withdrew that vote as a courtesy to Montana Republican Steve Daines, a Kavanaugh backer who was absent from Washington due to his daughter’s wedding. The “pairing” between Murkowski and Daines had no effect on the outcome of the confirmation vote. Murkowski was officially recorded as “present” for the roll call.

Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she found Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee “to be sincere, painful and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life. Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault (by Kavanaugh) occurred; none of the individuals Professor Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of that night. Judge Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations under penalty of perjury … .”

Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, said: “To vote yes on Brett Kavanaugh is to send a message to every woman in America that your voice doesn’t matter. If you risk everything – your security, your stability, your reputation – to come forward and speak truth to power about a sexual assault, they will call you credible. They will call you courageous. Yet they will not believe you. It is a message that says, if you have survived a sexual assault, don’t bother telling anyone because you must be mistaken. This traumatic and unforgettable moment in your life never happened. It must have been someone else.”

A yes vote was to confirm Kavanaugh.


Voting yes: Richard Shelby, R 

Voting no:  Doug Jones, D 

Kavanaugh Kloture Vote 

Voting 51 for and 49 against, the Senate on Oct. 5 agreed to a motion that would invoke cloture, or limit debate, on the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, 53, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. This advanced the nomination to a final vote.

David Perdue, R-Georgia, said: “The presumption of innocence is sacred. An individual here is innocent until proven guilty. That is part of what makes our country so exceptional. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have become so far removed from getting to the truth that they will stop at nothing to delay this Supreme Court confirmation. That is all this week is about. It is another delay.”

Patty Murray, D-Washington, said: “Like so many people watching last week’s (Judiciary Committee) hearing, I was shocked by Judge Kavanaugh’s raw anger, his rage, disrespect, sense of entitlement and sneering condescension … . I cannot imagine any senator seeing what we saw in that hearing, watching a nominee make a display like that, and thinking this person is fit to serve as an impartial judge on our nation’s highest court.”

A yes vote was to advance the Kavanaugh nomination.


Voting yes: Richard Shelby, R 

Voting no:  Doug Jones, D 

Programs to Combat Opioids Addiction

Voting 98 for and one against, the Senate on Oct. 3 gave final congressional approval to a package of 70 bills that would authorize $500 million over three years for state and local programs to fight the growing national addiction to illicit drugs including opioids. The bill would require the postal service to develop technology for detecting substances including fentanyl in packages from abroad just as private carriers must do. In addition, the bill would increase the number of recovery facilities for drug addicts; allow up to 30 days’ Medicaid coverage of opioids addicts age 21 to 64 who are inpatients in mental institutions; expand government and private research into non-addictive pain therapies; allow Medicaid reimbursement for treating infants born with addictions and expand telemedicine access in rural areas. The dissenting vote was cast by Mike Lee, R-Utah.

A yes vote was to send HR 6 to President Trump


Voting yes: Shelby, Jones 

Voting no: None

Aviation Programs, Disaster Aid, FEMA

Voting 93 for and six against, the Senate on Oct. 3 gave final congressional approval to a bill (HR 302) that would budget $90 billion for aviation programs including airport improvements over five years while reauthorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency through September 2023 and requiring it to allocate a larger share of its resources to mitigating damage from disasters. The bill also would authorize $1.68 billion in relief to victims of Hurricane Florence and western wildfires this year. In addition, the bill empowers security agencies including the FBI to shoot down drones deemed a “credible threat” to individuals or federal facilities; requires airlines to grant attendants 10 hours’ rest between flights, up from eight at present; sets minimum dimensions for passenger seats; prohibits the bumping of passengers already on board; bars the use of cell phones for in-flight calls; subsidizes passenger service to smaller cities and upgrades in-fight accommodations for handicapped passengers.

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Trump.


Voting yes: Shelby, Jones 

Voting no: None


The Senate schedule for the week of Oct. 8 was to be announced. The House is in recess until the week of Nov. 12.


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