Speaking at a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House Monday evening, President Trump apologized to Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family for the “campaign of political and personal destruction” he endured during his confirmation process, saying it violated “every notion of fairness, decency, and due process.”
To sustained, raucous applause, Trump entered the event flanked by Kavanuagh and former Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who hired Kavanaugh as a law clerk from 1993 to 1994. All sitting Supreme Court justices were in attendance, as well as Kavanaugh’s wife and two daughters.
Kavanaugh already took his official oaths in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court on Saturday, shortly after the Senate voted to confirm him by a narrow 50-48 margin. Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito are the only other two Supreme Court justices to attend a ceremonial swearing-in after taking the oath and formally starting work on the high court.
The event, a rare flourish after a historically bitter and partisan confirmation battle, began with remarks from President Trump, who told Kennedy that America owes him a “profound debt of gratitude.”
Fox News polls show that GOP enthusiasm is up across the board in the wake of the Kavanaugh showdown, even though political headwinds normally work against the party of incumbent presidents in their first midterm elections.
Kavanaugh, along with his law clerks, already has been at the Supreme Court preparing for his first day on the bench Tuesday. The high court is set to hear arguments in two cases about longer prison terms for repeat offenders. (Kavanaugh’s four clerks all are women, the first time that has happened.)
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”