Brett Kavanaugh, the new US Supreme Court justice picked by President Donald Trump, has been confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
He is replacing the long-serving Justice Kennedy, who announced his retirement on June 27 at the age of 81.
Allegations of sexual assault raised during Senate confirmation hearings dominated headlines and divided the US. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Kavanaugh graduated from Yale law school in 1983 and started his legal career under former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who carried out the probe that eventually led to former US President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1999.
Kavanaugh was one of the lead writers of the report. He has served on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006.
Under the George W Bush administration, he acted as White House lawyer and adviser.
Supreme Court judges are appointed for life and the 53-year-old Kavanaugh can potentially keep his position for decades.
A devout Catholic, Kavanaugh is expected to entrench conservative control of the court for a generation, as he becomes Trump’s second appointment to the nation’s highest judicial body. Conservative judges will have a 5-4 majority in the court over liberal justices.
Disputes involving abortion, immigration, gay rights, voting rights and transgender troops all could be heading towards the nine justices soon and Kavanaugh is widely expected to cast conservative votes in all of them.
He is well known for his views against abortion and gun control, supports the Second Amendment – which gives US citizens the right to bear arms – and dissents ban on semi-automatic weapons.
Critics view him as a threat to the future of legal and safe reproductive healthcare. Some believe he might try to overturn the Roe v Wade case which gave women nationwide right to abortion in 1973.
He has issued rulings against environmental regulations passed by former President Barack Obama regarding air pollution and climate change.
Allegations of sexual misconduct
Kavanaugh attended high school in Maryland, where he met Christine Blasey Ford, now a 51-year-old academic in research psychology.
After Kavanaugh’s name was put forward as a potential nominee for the vacant position on the court, Ford came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her under the influence of alcohol when they were in high school.
The vote brought an end to the nomination process defined by harrowing testimony from Ford, who told a Senate committee that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to remove her clothing at a house party when they were both teenagers.
Kavanaugh has strongly denied the allegations.
The contentious committee hearing was followed by a limited FBI investigation into the allegations, that concluded before Saturday’s vote.