Kavanaugh to hear first arguments as Supreme Court justice

Protestors outside the Supreme Court ahead of Justice Kavanaugh's official swearing-in

Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that President Donald Trump staged a "political rally" at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's ceremonial swearing-in that "further undermined the image and integrity of the court".

Kavanaugh will emerge Tuesday morning from behind the courtroom's red velvet curtains and take his seat alongside his eight colleagues.

Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court as his wife Ashley holds the Bible.

Kavanaugh and his law clerks already have been at the Supreme Court preparing for his first day on the bench Tuesday, when the justices will hear arguments in two cases about longer prison terms for repeat offenders. He jumped in with his first question after most of the other justices had spoken. So why don't we follow what Curtis Johnson seemed to do in applying those general statements to the specific statute at issue here and why wouldn't that then encompass the Florida statute, which requires more than, say, a tap on the shoulder?

He said that "under historic scrutiny", Mr Kavanaugh was "proven innocent".

Earlier Monday, Trump claimed the accusations against Kavanaugh were a "hoax set up by the Democrats".

Ultimately, Kavanaugh was confirmed by a vote of 50-48.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works on House races, said it raised $400,000 in the 30 hours after Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the Senate two weeks ago. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court previous year. Kavanaugh emphatically denied the allegations.

He later wrote in a newspaper opinion piece that he regretted some of his comments.

Journalist disappearance: Turkey demands Saudis prove Khashoggi left consulate
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Some analysts said the court's reputation could suffer as it becomes perceived as a political, rather than a legal, institution.

Kavanaugh, a veteran of such proceedings after 12 years on an influential US appeals court, looked at ease as he asked several questions during two hours of lively oral arguments involving a federal sentencing law for repeat offenders.

The appeals were brought by an environmental group and companies that supported the rule, which had limited hydrofluorocarbons used in a variety of products including spray cans and air conditioners.

"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the awful pain and suffering you have been forced to endure", Mr Trump said at the jurist's White House swearing-in ceremony. That's because the Kavanaugh fight undoubtedly galvanized both parties' bases, and in places with key Senate races like Tennessee and North Dakota that's certainly not helpful, as anything that polarizes both sides equally in the national fight will only help Republicans in Republican strongholds.

His arrival on the court tips the bench decidedly to the right - with five conservatives and four liberal justices.

"The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional".

Arguments will resume Wednesday in separate cases, one involving the detention of undocumented immigrants.

His views on presidential powers could be tested within days in a dispute over whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross should submit to questioning by lawyers suing the Trump administration over a decision to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census.

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