US President Donald Trump with Supreme Court associate justice Brett Kavanaugh at his swearing-in on Monday. Picture: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla
US President Donald Trump with Supreme Court associate justice Brett Kavanaugh at his swearing-in on Monday. Picture: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

The Honourable Brett M Kavanaugh has been sworn in as the 102nd associate justice of the US Supreme Court in a ceremony presided over by chief justice John G Roberts, following the most contentious confirmation process yet undertaken.

Kavanaugh was subjected to a last-minute "quickie" FBI probe, the undisclosed limits of which were set by the White House, into allegations that he ground his crotch against Christine Blasey Ford.

The probe found there was no corroboration for her version of events.

So, even though leading Republicans and US President Donald Trump himself said they found her credible, her evidence was dismissed.

Once sworn in at the White House, Kavanaugh dropped the angry, emotional persona he had adopted when he contested Ford’s evidence and struck a conciliatory note.

He said: "The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be. Though the Senate confirmation process tested me as it has tested others, it did not change me," he said as his wife and children stood by.

Also standing by was Trump. With midterm elections looming, he cut straight to the jugular, saying: "On behalf of our nation, I want to apologise to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. 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."

Trump, who has not been president for long, has now sworn in two conservative Supreme Court justices. This has cemented his status with the party’s Right, which wants the court to overturn, among other things, the Roe v Wade ruling which granted women the right to abortion.

With this energised base, Trump hopes the party will come out of the midterm elections unscathed, keeping its majorities in Congress and the Senate.

But Democrat supporters, particularly women, are also energised and hoping to take over both houses. If this should happen, Trump is headed for political purgatory and possible impeachment.

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