The bitterness over the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court continued Saturday afternoon after the U.S. Senate voted 50-48 to seat Kavanaugh, who was sworn in later in the day.
His promotion to the Supreme Court also stands as a demoralising defeat for Democrats who had battled hard to block the 53-year-old judge at all costs.
Republican Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was set to vote "no" on Kavanaugh, but as a favor to Montana Senator Steve Daines. she voted "present" to offset his "yes" vote so he could attend his daughter's wedding.
Republicans hold only a 51-49 Senate majority and therefore had little support to spare.
Kavanaugh's confirmation as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.
While acknowledging that Blasey Ford's testimony was "sincere, painful and compelling", Collins added: "We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness". Both Republicans voted to back the soon-to-be Justice's nomination.
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) sided with the GOP majority to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Within minutes, dozens of political and advocacy groups blasted out emailed reactions. "Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation is truly a low point for our great nation". "I hope people vote anyway, but unfortunately for Iowans, we can't vote against the senators responsible for this [this year]".
In final remarks just before the voting, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said a vote for Kavanaugh was "a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate's history and turn the page toward a brighter tomorrow".
"An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word", they said in a statement quoted in U.S. media.
"Democrats have been trying to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced", Trump declared as he rallied voters in Minnesota on Thursday night. These included the emergence of two other accusers; an unforgettable Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which a composed Ford and a seething Kavanaugh told their diametrically opposed stories, and a truncated FBI investigation that the agency said showed no corroborating evidence and Democrats lambasted as a White House-shackled farce. These things are of such high priority to them, that they're willing to ram through a person who has been credibly accused of multiple instances of sexual assault, simply because he'll vote their way on the bench.
The crowds outside the court have been chanting "Vote them out!" "And my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life".
"All I can say is no, I can't judge that, because I've seen at least three occasions since Roberts has been chief justice that I expected him to rule otherwise", Grassley said.
The letter specifically referenced a period during Kavanaugh's opening statements September 27 when he called the hearings "a calculated and orchestrated political hit".