Washington: On Saturday, American President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a judge of the US Supreme Court, amid crackling tension, angry protests and high drama on Capitol Hill.
Kavanaugh was officially sworn in as the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts who administered the Constitutional Oath in the Justices’ Conference Room, hours after the 53-year-old judge was confirmed by a bitterly divided Senate by 50-48 votes.
Retired Associate Justice Anthony M Kennedy administered the Judicial Oath. Wife Ashley Kavanaugh held the family Bible. Justice Kavanaugh’s two daughters, Liza and Margaret, and his parents attended the ceremony.
Kavanaugh, whose nomination was hit by multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against him from his past, replaces Kennedy who had announced his resignation earlier this year, at the age of 81.
- Brett Kavanaugh graduated form Yale law school in 1983.
- He started his legal career under former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who carried out the probe which led to the impeachment of former US President Bill Clinton’s in 1999.
- Kavanaugh 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.
- Kavanaugh is the second Supreme Court nominee of President Trump to be confirmed by the Senate.
Trump, who was on a November 6 mid-term election campaign trail in Kansas, called Kavanaugh to congratulate him on his confirmation and swearing in.
- He is well-known for his views against abortion and gun control. He supports the second amendment – which gives US citizens the right to bear arms – and dissents ban on semi-automatic weapons. Critics believe he might try to overturn the Roe versus Wade case which gave women nationwide right to abortion in 1973.
- Kavanaugh has issued rulings against environmental regulations passed by former President Barack Obama with regards to air pollution and climate change.
Kavanaugh denied sexual misconduct allegations
The swearing in of Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court judge comes after weeks of bitterly fought battle between the ruling Republican and the opposition Democratic parties.
Things took an ugly turn in the last few weeks, when three women came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted them.
Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old academic in the area of research psychology came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her under the influence of alcohol when they were in high school, after his name was put forward as a nominee for the vacant position on the court.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied all allegations of sexual misconduct against him when he was in high school and college.
Millions of people inside US and abroad watched live on their television sets the open hearing of Kavanaugh and his first accuser Christine Ford, a professor in California. Under tremendous political pressure, Trump had ordered a last-minute FBI supplemental inquiry.
The FBI submitted the confidential report to the Senate committee on Thursday and soon Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against him.
“This investigation found no hint of misconduct,” Senator Grassley said in a statement. “There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know.”
Trump calls Kavanaugh an outstanding person
Describing Kavanaugh as an outstanding person, Trump alleged that in recent weeks he and his family suffered a lot because of the opposition Democratic lawmakers who according to him supported an uncorroborated allegation of sexual assault against him.
“We’re very honoured 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,” he said. “But the beautiful thing is, he is now in. He’s going to be there for a long time. And he’s just an outstanding intellect, outstanding scholar, a brilliant lawyer — brilliant at everything he’s ever done. So we’re very happy. It was a great vote, a very historic vote,” Trump said.
Even as he was being sworn in inside the Supreme Court, scores of people protested across the street at the Capitol.
“The crowd in front of the US Supreme Court is tiny, looks like about 200 people (& most are onlookers) – that wouldn’t even fill the first couple of rows of our Kansas Rally, or any of our Rallies for that matter! The Fake News Media tries to make it look sooo big, & it’s not!” Trump said in a tweet.
Out of the nine-members on the Supreme Court bench, two judges Kavanagh and Neil Gorsuch have been nominated by Trump. While former President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both women, on the bench in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
(With inputs from Agencies)