US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sought to put a bruising confirmation battle behind him on Monday (Oct 8) at a White House ceremony in which President Donald Trump declared him innocent of sexual misconduct and apologised for the heated process.
Incoming Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh attends a ceremonial swearing-in alongside President Trump at the White House.
The US president apologised to his newest Supreme Court judge "on behalf of our nation" as Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in for the cameras at the White House.
But Kavanaugh's confirmation was delayed as the Senate considered allegations that he had sexually assaulted a woman in high school.
The clerks are Kim Jackson, who previously worked for Kavanaugh on the federal appeals court in Washington, Shannon Grammel, Megan Lacy and Sara Nommensen.
Trump used his introduction of Kavanaugh to slam the judge's opponents. Soon, Justice Kennedy will administer the Judicial Oath to Brett Kavanaugh, just as he did a year ago for Justice Gorsuch, Trump said. "And with that, I must state that, you sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent". Keeping score on this sort of thing may feel unseemly and irrelevant, but if a right-wing justice had amassed a similar record over a similar period of time, I suspect we'd hear a lot more about it - and not the context of a flurry of swooning films, either.More news: Rand drops as South Africa’s finance minister asks Ramaphosa to remove him
Kavanaugh said at the swearing-in ceremony on Monday that "the Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional". He understands that justice must be divorced from the passions of the day - tethered instead to the enduring foundation of our republic: "the Constitution", he said.
Kavanaugh's confirmation gave the Republican president a major political victory ahead of crucial November 6 congressional elections, with Trump's second selection for the nation's highest judicial body. He has also played basketball in the Supreme Court's gym, which is jokingly referred to as the "highest court in the land". Trump has spent the past few days relishing Kavanaugh's confirmation, which appeared in doubt as recently as last week after three women made sexual assault allegations against the nominee.
The bruising campaign to install Kavanaugh onto the court could leave a mark on his reputation and on public confidence in the institution, legal experts say. But critics said Kavanaugh's demeanor before the Senate Judiciary Committee raised questions about his temperament and potential political bias in deciding cases.
Kavanaugh took his seat at the end of the bench to Roberts' far left, a visible manifestation of a moment that Republicans have dreamed of for decades, with five solidly conservative justices on the court, and Democrats have dreaded.
Kavanaugh can be expected to cast crucial votes on those issues as well as gun control, immigration, voting rights and others. McConnell called the current partisan divide a "low point", but he blamed Democrats.
The victory is a boon for Republicans who are looking to hold on to majorities in the house and Senate.