Donald Trump joined Brett Kavanaugh for his formal investiture ceremony at the Supreme Court Nov. 8, marking the achievement of a signature campaign promise to put conservative judges on the bench.
Trump repeatedly invoked Kavanaugh’s bitter confirmation battle and the controversy over sexual assault accusations against the justice to rally his followers to vote in the midterm congressional elections on Nov. 6. Kavanaugh’s appointment, Trump’s second to the high court, has created the most conservative Supreme Court bench in generations.
Trump watched from the audience, hands clasped in front of him and leaning forward, as the court’s clerk read Kavanaugh’s commission, a ceremonial conclusion to the drama over the nomination. Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, extended a “very warm welcome” to Kavanaugh and wished him ”a long and happy career.”
The president made no remarks and departed the marble chamber less than ten minutes after entering, as the event concluded.
Kavanaugh has been participating in Supreme Court arguments after officially becoming a member of the court when he took the two required oaths last month.
The importance of court appointments to national politics was also underscored by the audience. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attended, as did Judge Merrick Garland. Garland had been nominated to the high court by President Barack Obama only to be blocked by McConnell, who wanted to keep the position open and the issue alive during the 2016 presidential election. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who took over the Justice Department Nov. 7 after Trump ousted Jeff Sessions, was also there.
McConnell and Trump have both counted the appointment and confirmation of two conservative justices to the court as among the president’s key accomplishments
The only sitting member of the court not to attend was 85-year-old liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose health and age have been a continuing sources of concern to Democrats. She was hospitalized early Nov. 8 morning after falling in her office and breaking three ribs, the Supreme Court said in a statement.
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