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Trump Apologizes to Justice Brett Kavanaugh at White House Swearing-In Ceremony 

10-08-2018
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New Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh returned to the White House's East Room Monday night to be ceremonially sworn in by retired Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as President Trump triumphantly watched. The East Room is the same room where Trump announced Kavanaugh's nomination on July 9. 

Kavanaugh, 53, was confirmed by the Senate in a narrow vote of 50 to 48 Saturday night.  Afterward, he was officially sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony.  The new justice's first day on the bench will be Tuesday. 

The televised ceremony, whose audience was made up of members of the media, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and the other seated justices as well as Republican lawmakers, marked the end of a confirmation process that lasted for two and a half months. 

Kavanaugh faced several allegations of sexual assault and excessive drinking while attending high school and college.  An FBI investigation found no evidence supporting the allegations and senators voted to confirm him to a lifetime term on the high court.

Before the ceremony, Trump introduced the justices and the members of Kavanaugh's family.  He also thanked Justice Kennedy for his lifetime of service.

The president noted it was the first time in US history that a Supreme Court justice was swearing in his former clerk to fill his own seat on the high court.

Trump also apologized to Kavanaugh and his family "on behalf of the nation" for the "campaign of political and personal destruction" he faced during the confirmation process. 

It violated "every notion of fairness, decency, and due process," Trump told the audience.   

The president then turned to Kavanaugh's two daughters and told them, " Your father is a great man."

Following the judicial oath and sustained applause, Kavanaugh thanked Trump for his support throughout the entire process. 

Kavanaugh reminded the audience "a judge must interpret the law, not make the law."

"All nine of us revere the Constitution," Kavanaugh said. "The Supreme Court is an institution of law. It is not a partisan or political institution. The justices do not sit on opposite sides of the aisle. The Supreme Court is a team of nine, and I will always be a team player on a team of nine."

“The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be,” he said.

Some Democrats have suggested the idea of investigating and even impeaching Justice Kavanaugh after they retake the House of Representatives after the November midterm elections.

Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said such conduct would be "absolutely foolish, inconsistent and hypocritical." 

"Those who believe that Bill Clinton should never have been impeached for allegedly lying about his sex life are now going to lead the campaign to impeach Kavanaugh for allegedly lying about his sexual and drinking activities back when he was a 17-year-old?" Dershowitz told Fox News Monday. "It's hypocrisy run rampant."

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) also squashed the idea of impeaching the new associate justice, suggesting instead for voters to participate in the upcoming elections. 

"I think that's premature," Coons said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. "I think frankly we are just less than a month away from an election. Folks who feel very strongly one way or the other about the issues in front of us should get out and vote and participate."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the opposition to Kavanaugh's confirmation was a "great political gift" to Republicans.

"It's been a great political gift for us. The tactics have energized our base," McConnell told The Washington Post  Saturday, adding that he never thought Kavanaugh would withdraw after being accused of sexual assault by multiple women.

"I want to thank the mob because they've done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base," he said.

Security at the Capitol building was tightened last week after several Republican senators received death threats and faced harassment as the number of anti-Kavanaugh activists increased. It was so bad at one point that Capitol Police had to escort several Republican senators to work. 

"I think it's worse for Judiciary Committee members, but I know Sen. Collins is having a lot of trouble," John N. Kennedy (R-LA) told The Washington Examiner on Wednesday. "She can hardly leave her home. There has been an increase in people screaming at you."

One special education teacher in Rosemont, Minn. landed in hot water after posting a tweet on Saturday that appeared to call for the killing of Kavanaugh.

The Star Tribune reports the teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave over the incident pending the outcome of an investigation by the school district.

Several Twitter users saved and shared her tweet which read: "So whose {sic} gonna take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?"

Users reported the tweet to the FBI and the US Secret Service. But as the newspaper pointed out, it's the US Marshals Service that protects the federal judiciary.  It's unclear if the teacher will be charged with a crime. 

In addition, a former Democratic intern was arrested last week for allegedly posting the personal information of at least one Republican senator during the hearing into the allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.

As CBN News reported, Capitol Police arrested Jackson A. Cosko, 27, of Washington, D.C. and charged him with making public restricted personal information, witness tampering, threats in interstate communication, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, second-degree burglary, and unlawful entry. 

Cosko had recently worked as an unpaid intern for US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. He had only worked in Lee's office for a couple of months before being terminated.

The personal information of Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, all appeared on their Wikipedia pages, including home addresses and phone numbers, according to The Washington Times.

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