Kavanaugh asks questions in first day on bench

Activists protest on the steps and plaza of the Supreme Court after the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill Saturday Oct. 6 2018 in Washington

"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the bad pain and suffering you have been forced to endure", he said at the ceremony in the ornate White House East Room.

Trump sees his success in getting Kavanaugh onto the court - tilting the crucial body to the right for potentially years to come - as one of the major successes of his turbulent two-year administration.

Mr Kavanaugh, acknowledging the "contentious and emotional" fight over his confirmation, said he had "no bitterness" and promised to "always be a team player on the team of nine".

Kavanaugh took his seat at the right end of the courtroom's mahogany bench - the location assigned to the court's junior-most member - and wore traditional black robes like the other justices.

Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court as his wife Ashley holds the Bible.

"The Supreme Court is an institution of law".

The final vote for Kavanaugh stood at 50-48 which proved to be an advantage for Trump in view of the upcoming mid-term elections which is a month due.

Kavanaugh's confirmation gave the Republican president a political victory ahead of crucial November 6 congressional elections. He's now Justice Kavanaugh, but that doesn't mean the Democrats are done with him.

His path to confirmation was turbulent - opposition to him intensified after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her decades ago, when they were teenagers.

The cases, involving a Florida robbery and burglaries in Tennessee and Arkansas, challenged the types of crimes that qualify as violent felonies under that law and can lead to 15-year mandatory minimum sentences.

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The president did not directly address the allegations at the ceremony but said Kavanaugh had faced a "campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception".

Referring to a 2010 decision known as Curtis Johnson, Kavanaugh asked Justice Department lawyer Frederick Liu what the court should do "if we're trying to follow Curtis Johnson strictly?"

Kavanaugh's critics, unhappy with the Senate process, Kavanaugh's record and the way sexual assault allegations were handled, still plan to continue their protests against him.

"Although the Senate confirmation process tested me as it has tested others, it did not change me", Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh's ceremonial swearing-in has some historical precedent, as most of the current members of the Supreme Court had some White House aspect to their oath-takings, even if they already had been done so privately and even started work.

As Gorsuch did in his first arguments previous year, Kavanaugh focused heavily on the importance of following earlier decisions of the court.

"I'm not saying nobody could do it. but it requires a lot of force, more than you might think", Roberts said.

Kavanaugh is expected to vote with his conservative colleagues on the bench, even on some hot-button issues where Kennedy served as a swing vote.

On Monday evening, he was the guest of honor at a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House, where Trump apologized on behalf of the nation for "the bad pain and suffering" Kavanaugh and his family had suffered.

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