Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and former Justice Anthony Kennedy swore Brett Kavanaugh in as an associate justice to the Supreme Court in a private ceremony Saturday evening only hours after the Senate confirmed him in a 50-48 vote.
The ceremony is the culmination of an acrimonious process that heightened partisanship on Capitol Hill to new levels ever since Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, announced his retirement in June.
It also delivers a significant win for President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE exactly one month before the midterm elections.
The swearing-in was scheduled "so that he can begin to participate in the work of the court immediately," the Supreme Court said in a statement.
“We’re very happy about it. Great decision. I very much appreciate those 50 great votes. And I think he’s going to go down as a totally brilliant Supreme Court justice for many years. Many years. He was chosen for the reason of his temperament, his incredible past, his outstanding years on the court. He just had an outstanding record. A brilliant scholar — totally brilliant scholar. Top,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One of Kavanaugh’s confirmation earlier Saturday.
The president has now installed two justices on the Supreme Court in less than two years in office, cementing a conservative majority on the nation's highest court. Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, was confirmed in April 2017.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation process stoked partisan tensions from the very beginning, but was thrown into complete tumult when three women went public with allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh while he was in high school and college.
Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward with her allegations, both testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, during which Kavanaugh issued a fiery denial of the accusations, suggesting they were planned “smears” as part of the Democrats’ “revenge on behalf of the Clintons."
“We’re very honored that he was able to withstand this horrible, horrible attack by the Democrats. It’s a horrible attack that nobody should have to go through,” Trump echoed today.
The FBI conducted an investigation into the three women’s allegations and returned a private report to the Senate on Thursday, which Republicans said offered no corroborating evidence for any of the accusations and Democrats said was too limited in its scope.
Protesters descended upon Washington during the confirmation process, holding large gatherings in Senate office buildings and confronting key senators to try to convince them to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Many told stories of being sexually assaulted themselves, and by the end of the week U.S. Capitol Police had arrested hundreds of people.
Protests continued outside the Capitol and the Supreme Court as the swearing-in ceremony was conducted.