New US Supreme Court Justice Takes Part in White House Ceremony


08 October, 2018

The newest member of America's highest court has taken part in a ceremony with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn-in as United States Supreme Court Justice Saturday shortly after winning Senate approval in a 50 to 48 vote. But now he has taken an oath of service a second time for ceremonial reasons only.

The televised event took place just one month before the United States holds mid-term elections.

Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, ceremonially swears-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as President Donald Trump looks on, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible and daughters Margaret, left, and Liza, look on. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, ceremonially swears-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as President Donald Trump looks on, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible and daughters Margaret, left, and Liza, look on. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Kavanaugh joined the court after several weeks of heated debate among senators and the U.S. public. A California college professor had accused him of a sexual attack she said took place when they were both teenagers. He strongly denied the accusation, saying he had never acted in such a way toward any woman.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation report said its limited investigation ordered by the president found no evidence to support the accusation.

Trump continues to blame members of the Democratic Party for the debate over Kavanaugh's appointment. On Monday, he called the situation a disgrace. Kavanaugh was, in his words, "caught up in a hoax that was set up by the Democrats."

Saturday's Senate vote was the closest vote to confirm a justice since 1881.

On Sunday, Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell signaled that he is willing to consider another high court nomination if one opens in the 2020 presidential election season.

In 2016, the Republican-run Senate decided not to consider then-President Barack Obama's high court nominee Merrick Garland. McConnell blocked a vote on the nominee, arguing that there was a tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in presidential election years. But when asked about that on the television program Fox News Sunday, he offered a different opinion. He said that inaction on nominees is suggested only when the Senate is controlled by a party in opposition to the president.

McConnell said, "We'll see if there is a vacancy in 2020."

Positions on the Supreme Court only become available if a current justice dies or decides to leave.

I'm Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press first reported this story. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in this Story

hoax -n. an act that is meant to trick or deceive people

vacancy -n. a job or position that is available to be taken