Kavanaugh offers 'special gratitude' to Collins, others at ceremonial swearing

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Kavanaugh is accompanied by his wife Ashley Kavanaugh, third from left, and children Margaret, second from left, and Liza.

Kavanaugh officially took the oath in a more hurried, private procedure Saturday, but the White House version will be a chance for the Trump administration to celebrate publicly.

The accusation by Ford delayed the vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, putting it in doubt as the psychology professor testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by the judge's emphatic denial and impassioned rebuttal. Republicans said at the time that the Senate should wait until a new president was elected to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

"The Supreme Court is a team of nine".

But, he told the new justice, "You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent".

After the Senate's vote to confirm the controversial nominee, Democratic voters have grown more enthusiastic about midterm voting than Republicans, a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday found.

Before his defence of Justice Kavanaugh, Mr Trump said he would not be firing Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, over claims in the New York Times that he questioned the president's fitness for office.

McConnell declined to weigh in on a possible replacement except to say he or she would not be coming from the ranks of his slim 51-seat Senate majority.

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Initially Democrats had been favored to take control of the House of Representatives and - in early September - were seen as having a decent chance of taking the Senate as well.

Some analysts said the court's reputation could suffer as it becomes perceived as a political, rather than a legal, institution. Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice on October 6.

US President Donald Trump returns from Florida to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington October 8, 2018.

The crowd was orders of magnitude smaller than the throngs of women who occupied Senate halls and heckled Republican senators in the runup to Kavanaugh's critical confirmation vote last Saturday, but used the same costumes and held the same signs: "Kava-Nope", "Believe Survivors", and "We do not consent".

He denied the allegations and in a blistering partisan attack during a Senate hearing on Sept 27, accused Democrats of an "orchestrated political hit". He has already hired four women to serve as his Supreme Court clerks, something that he noted Monday evening was a first, and has studied the legal briefs for the cases on deck.

Then, just as his confirmation seemed inevitable, 11th-hour allegations emerged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl while at high school and exposed himself to a female classmate at an alcohol-fueled dorm party at Yale University.

The day before the Kavanaugh vote, it received $40,000. Kavanaugh, in contrast, is expected to be a more decidedly conservative vote, tilting the court right for decades and leaving Chief Justice John Roberts as the justice closest to the ideological middle.

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