Members of the Me Too movement voiced outrage after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed for the US’s top court amid an allegation of sexual assault and fears over abortion rights.
President Donald Trump’s controversial Supreme Court pick was approved by senators on Saturday in highly unusual scenes where protesters heckled from the Senate’s public gallery as politicians cast votes.
His confirmation came after Dr Christine Blasey Ford accused him of a historic sexual assault, and two other claims of misconduct.
Mr Kavanaugh denied the allegations and received continued backing from the president as well as vast protest from opponents.
His nomination will tip the Supreme Court’s balance in favour of conservatives, and Mr Kavanaugh’s opponents fear he will curtail abortion rights and weaken gun control.
Mira Sorvino, one of the actresses to accuse disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment – which he denies, expressed her fears Mr Kavanaugh will help protect the president from any potential legal action.
Sadly I have retweeted this before... to think that MANY women have accused Trump of worse than Kavanaugh, and he just helped someone who is interested in giving him more immunity get seated on the Supreme Court #roguesgallery #whereisjustice??? ... https://t.co/Cg5MfOTaG6— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) October 6, 2018
While fellow actress Alyssa Milano, who helped spark the Me Too movement by encouraging victims to tweet about their harassment or abuse, said she was “terrified and outraged”.
She encouraged her fans to “take back our power” by voting in the November mid-term elections, adding: “It is the only way out of this mess.”
Reese Witherspoon said she “can’t wait for November” – adding the blue wave symbol for a vast victory for the Democrats.
Cant wait for November ! 🌊— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) October 6, 2018
The Time’s Up campaign praised a turning tide in US attitudes, but said “it’s heartbreaking but not surprising that this small group of largely white men made a decision that valued the career of one man above all else”.
Itâs heartbreaking but not surprising that this small group of largely white men made a decision that valued the career of one man above all else. But even as the Senate clings to the past, rooms of power are changing all across America. (2/4)— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) October 6, 2018
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres praised Dr Ford and vowed to continue her “movement”.
This tweet is for Dr. Ford. You put yourself through so much and I want you to know it wasnât in vain. You started a movement and weâll see it through. If they wonât listen to our voices, then theyâll listen to our vote.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 6, 2018
British politicians also weighed in, with shadow Brexit secretary and former director of public prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer calling the appointment process “wrong in so many ways”.
Labour MP Jess Phillips wrote about the effect the vote has had on women, tweeting: “I feel as though someone is sitting on my chest. Slow grip tightening to remind us we got above ourselves.”
Unsurprisingly, Mr Trump took a very different tone, tweeting to “applaud and congratulate” the Senate’s confirmation of his “great nominee”.
I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court. Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2018
Democrats vehemently opposed Mr Kavanaugh, arguing he was a threat to the Roe v Wade ruling, which guarantees the right to abortion.
They also fear he will argue that a sitting president cannot be indicted if prosecutors investigating Mr Trump’s campaign ties to Russia attempt to pursue him in court.
The hurdle for Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination came when Dr Ford accused him of drunkenly sexually assaulting her at a high school gathering in 1982.
Two further women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations dating back to the same decade.
Fifty senators voted in favour, with 48 against, to appoint 53-year-old Mr Kavanaugh to the court for life.