Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as US Supreme Court justice on Saturday, the court said, after a deeply divided US Senate confirmed him to the court and Republicans dismissed accusations of sexual misconduct against the conservative judge. The same sense of dread spread in the Senate, as lawmakers texted each other about their concerns. Gary Peters (D-MI) said on Saturday: "I think we should have focused on the serious allegations that certainly appeared very credible to me that would be our best course of action", CNN reported.
Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party when she was 15 and he 17 - 36 years ago.
If Kavanaugh is approved in a final Senate vote, likely on Saturday, Trump will have achieved a victory in his drive to consolidate conservative dominance of the nation's highest court and move the American judiciary to the right.
Vice-President Mike Pence planned to be available Saturday in case his tie-breaking vote was needed, which now seems unlikely.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the sole Democrat to back Kavanaugh, while Alaska's Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, was the only Republican to oppose him.
But the turmoil wrought by the process, and the impact it has on Kavanaugh's reputation on the court, could endure.
Following the claims, Kavanaugh said in a statement: 'I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation.
Ms Murkowski had earlier said that although Mr Kavanaugh was a "good man", he was "not the right person for the court at this time" and his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable".
Kavanaugh took his oath of office in a quiet private ceremony, not long after the narrowest Senate confirmation in almost a century and a half, protesters chanted outside the court building across the street from the Capitol.
"Kavanaugh's confirmation is devastating as unresolved questions remain about his human rights record, including in relation to the US government's use of torture and other forms of ill treatment, such as during the Central Intelligence Agency detention program", Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA's director of security with human rights, said in a statement.
"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.
Trump also called Kavanaugh, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, en route to Kansas, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. Steve Daines of Montana, who supports Kavanaugh but was in Montana to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
Former President George H.W. Bush tweeted support for Collins from Kennebunkport, praising her before the final vote for "political courage and class". "I look forward to his confirmation to the Supreme Court". You do not get to say you believe her, but not that part. He and his defenders asserted that his high school and college focus was on academics, sports and church.
When Sen. Jeff Flake cast his vote in favor of Kavanaugh, one protester shouted, "You're a coward Flake, a total coward!"
After Justice Kennedy announced his retirement this year, Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace his one-time mentor on the Supreme Court.