Kavanaugh to hear first arguments as Supreme Court justice

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US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sought to put a bruising confirmation battle behind him on Monday (Oct 8) at a White House ceremony in which President Donald Trump declared him innocent of sexual misconduct and apologised for the heated process.

ActBlue - an online fundraising platform for Democrats - raised almost $10 million on October 5 - the day the Senate held a procedural vote on moving Kavanaugh's nomination forward - and another $9 million on October 6, the day the upper chamber formally confirmed him.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation completed a report on sexual misconduct allegations against Mr Kavanaugh - but the findings have not been released to the public.

Speaking after his swearing in, Judge Kavanaugh agreed that the process had been "contentious and emotional", adding: "That process is over".

During the public swearing-in ceremony, President Donald Trump apologized to Kavanaugh and his family "for the pain and suffering you have been forced to endure".

Trump has repeatedly said that putting conservatives on the court - Kavanaugh is his second appointment - was among the top goals of his presidency.

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The other eight justices are all in attendance for Monday's swearing-in, which is entirely ceremonial.

The 53-year-old justice told the White House gathering that he would not let the "bitter" confirmation process affect his work on the highest court in the land.

Democrats had fought tooth and nail to stop Kavanaugh´s candidacy, claiming that the accomplished, conservative-minded judge was not suited to the Supreme Court.

Defining the limits of "physical force" used in unarmed robberies took up much of the justices' time.

With police standing by, a handful of protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court building, holding signs saying "Shame" and "He sits on a throne of lies", while chanting, "This isn't over, we're still here".

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.

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Republicans had hoped to confirm Kavanaugh in time for the court's October 1 start of the new term.

Some analysts said the court's reputation could suffer as it becomes perceived as a political, rather than a legal, institution. The new justice's four clerks all are women, the first time that has happened.

Ultimately, every Democrat voted against Mr Kavanaugh except for Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Trump's first Supreme Court appointee, Neil Gorsuch, also took part in a White House oath ceremony. "We wish you a long and happy career in our common calling". McConnell called the current partisan divide a "low point", but he blamed Democrats.

Republicans had hoped to confirm Kavanaugh by October 1, the start of the new term. There are 100 Senators, two from each state, and Republicans now hold a razor thin majority with 51 seats.

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