The Senate voted Saturday 50-48 to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, bringing an end to a heated confirmation battle and signaling a rightward shift on the high court.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said the "historic" confirmation represents "a terrific day for the American people."

"This is why Republicans got elected. It was because we were committed to putting judges on the court who are going to apply the law and Constitution as it is written," Thune said on Fox News Channel Saturday. "And that is what Judge Kavanaugh represents."

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He said this ends an "unfortunate chapter" in partisan politics, accusing Democrats of "cynically exploiting" Dr. Christine Ford's sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh in order to delay or sink his nomination.

"I think the message that we are sending is that an unproven, unsubstantiated, uncorroborated accusation from your high school years doesn't forever disqualify you from public service," Thune said.

He added that he believes Kavanaugh will be a terrific justice because -- unlike Democrats -- he doesn't see the high court as a "super legislature."

"We don't believe that's what the court is about," Thune said. "We think the court historically and to this day needs to be about being that umpire that calls balls and strikes in an even-handed way, that is fair in the way that it handles these cases and faithful to the law and the Constitution."

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