Brett Kavanaugh was sworn last night as the 114th justice of the US Supreme Court, after a wrenching debate over sexual misconduct and judicial temperament that shattered the Senate, with a formal swearing-in ceremony expected Monday at the White House. This has captivated the nation and ushered in an acrimonious new level of polarization — now encroaching on the court that the 53-year-old judge may well swing rightward for decades to come.
Even as Kavanaugh took his oath of office in a quiet private ceremony, not long after the narrowest Senate confirmation in nearly a century and a half, protesters chanted outside the court building across the street from the Capitol.
Earlier, the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after a rancorous, protracted confirmation fight that ended with multiple allegations of sexual assault. The vote, which concluded just before 4 p.m., was almost entirely along party lines. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the sole Democrat to vote “yes.”
Numerous anti-Kavanaugh protesters in the Senate gallery shouted out during the vote and were removed. Vice President Mike Pence, who was present in case of a tie, announced the result. President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh July 9 to fill the seat of Justice Anthony Kennedy, called the confirmation vote “very exciting” in a tweet.
Despite the partisan rancor that threatened to sink Kavanaugh’s confirmation., Thomas Jipping, deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, said he thinks the new justice’s legacy on the court will not be one of politics. “Conflicts over judicial appointments are conflicts over judicial power,” said Jipping, who previously served as chief counsel to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on the Senate Judiciary Committee.