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Before subsuming himself in the business of the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh offered thanks to God and homage to his family Monday night during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the White House.
Kavanaugh was joined by President Donald Trump, all of the sitting justices and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Kavanaugh is replacing at the ceremonial event. Kavanaugh had been officially sworn into the court Saturday by Chief Justice John Roberts, hours after the Senate confirmed him, ending an confirmation hearing of unprecedented partisan rancor.
Kavanaugh said the process took its toll.
“The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional,” Kavanaugh said, according to a White House media pool report. “That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be. I take this office with gratitude and no bitterness. On the Supreme Court, I will seek to be a force for stability and unity. My goal is to be a great justice for all Americans and for all of America. I will work very hard to achieve that goal.”
Kavanaugh said that his goal remains the same as it was before Democrats used 30-year-old unproven allegations to try to smear him.
“Although the Senate confirmation process tested me, as it has tested others, it did not change me,” he said. “My approach to judging remains the same. A good judge must be an umpire, a neutral and impartial decider who favors no litigant or policy. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”
Kavanaugh reminded those in attendance that life was bigger that court rulings.
“In the wake of the Senate confirmation process, my approach to life also remains the same. I will continue to heed the message of Matthew 25. I will continue to volunteer to serve the least fortunate among us. I will continue to coach, teach, and tutor. I will continue to strive to be a good friend, colleague, husband, and dad,” he said.
He then spoke about his family.
“My daughters, Margaret and Liza, are smart, strong, awesome girls. They’re in the middle of fall lacrosse, looking forward to the upcoming basketball season. I thank their teachers for giving them the day off tomorrow so that they can come watch two cases being argued at the Supreme Court,” he said.
“My wife Ashley is a proud West Texan from Abilene, Texas. Graduate of Abilene Cooper Public High School, University of Texas in Austin. She’s the dedicated town manager of our local community. She’s got a deep faith. She’s an awesome mom, a great wife. She is a rock,” he said.
“I thank God every day for Ashley and my family,” he said.
Kavanaugh urged America to turns away from the ugliness of the confirmation process.
“As in the past, our nation today faces challenges and divisions. But I am an optimist. I live on the sunrise side of the mountain. I see the day that is coming, not the day that is gone. I am optimistic about the future of America and the future of our independent judiciary, the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. As a justice on the Supreme Court, I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law,” he said.
During his remarks, Trump offered Kavanaugh an apology for the pain he and his family endured.
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” the president said. “Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process.
“Our country, a man or woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. And with that, I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.”
Maureen Scalia, widow of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, also attended the event, as did leaders of multiple conservative groups that supported Kavanaugh’s nomination, Newsmax reported.
Hillary Clinton disparaged Trump and the event Tuesday.
“What was done last night in the White House was a political rally. It further undermined the image and integrity of the court,” Clinton told CNN.