Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a judge of the US Supreme Court, hours after he was confirmed by a bitterly divided Senate by 50-48 votes.
53-year-old Kavanaugh was officially sworn in early Saturday evening as the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts who administered the Constitutional Oath in the Justices’ Conference Room.
Retired Associate Justice Anthony M Kennedy administered the Judicial Oath. Wife Ashley Kavanaugh held the family Bible. Justice Kavanaugh’s two daughters, Liza and Margaret, and his parents attended the ceremony.
Kavanaugh replaces Kennedy, who had announced his resignation early this year.
“He’s going to go down as a totally brilliant Supreme Court Justice for many years,” an elated President Donald Trump told reporters, whom he had invited to join him in watching the vote on television aboard Air Force One.
Trump also derided the sizable protests against Judge Kavanaugh on the steps of the Supreme Court and the Capitol as “phony stuff”, and said it was a misnomer to imply that women were upset at his confirmation.
“Women, I feel, were in many ways stronger than the men in this fight,” the President said.
“Women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Outraged.”
The brutal confirmation fight is likely to have far-reaching implications in next month’s midterm elections.
Republicans are confronting an electrified Democratic base led by women infuriated by the treatment of professor Christine Blasey Ford, who detailed in emotional testimony her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
The swearing in of Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court judge brought to end weeks of bitterly fought battle between the ruling Republican and the opposition Democratic parties.
Things took an ugly turn in the last few weeks, when at least three women came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted them.
Under tremendous political pressure, Trump had ordered a last-minute FBI supplemental inquiry, the results of which reports said did not prove the allegations. Day later on Saturday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Kavanaugh by 50-48 votes, which was mostly on party lines.
Kavanaugh is the second Supreme Court nominee of President Donald Trump to be confirmed by the Senate.
The two-vote margin for Kavanaugh was the narrowest for a confirmed Supreme Court Justice since 1881, when the Senate confirmed Stanley Matthews, a nominee of President James A. Garfield’s.
Ahead of the vote, hundreds of people protested against Kavanaugh’s nomination at the US Capitol in Washington. Protesters had gathered outside the court and at one point some ran up the steps and banged on its ornate doors. Other demonstrators climbed on the nearby statue of justice.
(With inputs from agencies)