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U.S. Supreme Court

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

A sharply divided Senate — reflecting a deeply divided nation — voted almost entirely along party lines Saturday afternoon to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A little more than two hours later, Kavanaugh was sworn in during a private ceremony as protesters stood on the court's steps.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, while protesters gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to voice their anger at the decision.

Kavanaugh's confirmation felt nearly inevitable by Friday afternoon, when two previously undecided senators, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced they would support him. But that near-certainty did not stop protesters from gathering outside the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court early Saturday.

With the balance of the Supreme Court in question, some abortion-rights advocates are quietly preparing for a future they hope never to see — one without the protections of Roe v. Wade.

One day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, a group calling itself Demand Justice staged a rally outside the court's front steps.

Attorneys for a man arrested in 2012 in St. Lucie County asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to take up a challenge to the constitutionality of a Florida law that bars people from openly carrying firearms in public.

The newest member of the Supreme Court celebrated his swearing-in with a public ceremony in the White House Rose Garden Monday morning. Neil Gorsuch will cement the conservative 5-4 majority on the high court, delivering on a key campaign promise of President Trump.

"I've always heard that the most important thing that a president of the United States does is appoint people — hopefully great people like this appointment — to the United States Supreme Court," Trump said. "And I got it done in the first 100 days."

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays are among the thousands of businesses, religious groups, advocacy organizations and politicians who are filing legal briefs at the Supreme Court in support of gay marriage.

So are reigning football and baseball champions, the New England Patriots and San Francisco Giants.

The cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee will be argued April 28, and a decision is expected by early summer.

Hillsborough County is one of five Florida counties affected by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this morning on the Voting Rights Act. While the court didn't strike down the law's provision that requires federal monitoring of elections in certain states and counties, including Hillsborough, the justices said lawmakers will have to update the formula that put those regions on the list.

You can already hear all the likely jokes at the Supreme Court, about the justices going to the dogs. But the issue being argued Wednesday is deadly serious: whether police can take a trained drug-detection dog up to a house to smell for drugs inside, and if the dog alerts, use that to justify a search of the home.

In the case before the court, the four-legged cop was named Franky, and as a result of his nose, his human police partner charged Joelis Jardines with trafficking in more than 25 pounds of marijuana.