'Team player' Brett Kavanaugh sworn in again as US Supreme Court Justice

Hugh Fox
October 10, 2018

Mr Kavanaugh is expected to push the court further to the right as he is replacing Justice Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes voted with the liberal justices on key social issues including in cases involving abortion and gay rights.

The result is a tacit endorsement of Kavanaugh's ruling on the limit of executive power in agency law, one that sets a precedent for future court cases unless the Supreme Court chooses to revisit it.

His first day on the bench is Tuesday when he and his colleagues will hear arguments about longer jail terms for repeat offenders.

While experts believe these will probably not provide close votes, Kavanaugh missed a case regarding an endangered frog that seemed to divide the court.

Meanwhile, Christine Blasey Ford - who said the judge sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982 when they were high school students - has been unable to move back home because of "unending" death threats, according to one of her lawyers.

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Kavanaugh's installation cements the strongest conservative majority on the court since the New Deal, delivering on a decades-long ambition of the American right.

At times he cried, at other times he shouted, leading many to wonder whether - regardless of whether Dr Ford's claim was true - he lacked the temperament for a lifetime appointment in the US's most powerful court.

Chief Justice John Roberts welcomed Kavanaugh to the court before the oral arguments.

As Gorsuch did in his first arguments past year, Kavanaugh focused heavily on the importance of following earlier decisions of the court. Every sitting member of the Supreme Court was present at the ceremony. And all Curtis Johnson seemed to hold was that that was excluded. Soon, Justice Kennedy will administer the Judicial Oath to Brett Kavanaugh, just as he did a year ago for Justice Gorsuch, Trump said.

There were no disruptions in the courtroom and the justices laughed at each other's jokes. "It is not a partisan or political institution", said Kavanaugh, who was to take up his seat on the nine-member bench on October 9. He has also been preparing for arguments this week. "It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil". Police put up barricades in front of the court, but there were few protesters in the early morning.

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A petition to impeach Justice Kavanaugh has more than 150,000 signatures.

Republicans had hoped to confirm Kavanaugh by October 1, the start of the new term. Kavanaugh was a judge on the D.C. Circuit for 12 years.

The bitterly divided U.S. Senate voted 50-48 on Saturday to confirm Kavanaugh, with just one Democrat supporting him.

What did Justice Kavanaugh tell the ceremony?

Kavanaugh's first Supreme Court case involved arguments over the federal criminal sentencing law and came hours after Trump staged a ceremonial swearing-in for Kavanaugh at the White House. Kavanaugh had said during his confirmation hearing in September that he would hire an all female clerk if confirmed.

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