President Trump apologized to Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh for Democrats’ smear campaign Monday night during a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House, capping a week of victories for President Trump and giving a major boost to Republicans heading into the mid-term elections.
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” Mr. Trump said. “You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.”
In a packed East Room ceremony with the president, all Supreme Court justices, lawmakers and his family, Justice Kavanaugh received the oath from retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whom he is replacing on the high court.
Justice Kavanaugh said he is honored to serve alongside colleagues he greatly admires.
“I will always be a team player on a team of nine,” he said.
His official duties on the Supreme Court begin Tuesday when he will attend oral arguments as the ninth justice, cementing conservatives’ 5-4 majority. He’s starting, as promised, with an all-female contingent of law clerks — a first for the Supreme Court.
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The White House ceremony was held mainly as a celebration and a photo-op, after a rancorous confirmation process that will be remembered for Democrats raising unproven allegations of sexual assault against Justice Kavanaugh, and for his forceful, angry denials. Justice Kavanaugh, 53, was officially sworn-in during a private ceremony Saturday after the bitterly divided Senate confirmed him by a vote of 50-48.
The president said of Senate Democrats’ smear campaign, “It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil.”
But the hard-fought result was Mr. Trump’s second successful Supreme Court nomination in less than two years, and it shifts the Court in a more conservative direction, likely for decades to come.