Judiciary

Trump Sets the Record Straight on Justice Kavanaugh

The president apologized to Kavanaugh for Democrats' "campaign of political and personal destruction."

Thomas Gallatin · Oct. 9, 2018

Often official government ceremonies can feel rote and uninteresting due to their formality. However, Monday’s official swearing-in ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was palpably different. After the nation experienced one of the most contentious political battles surrounding the confirmation process of a SCOTUS nominee, the air was still thick with tension. And President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly demonstrated that he will not be bullied into silence, was not about to let the moment pass without setting the record straight.

In introducing the newest justice, Trump started by thanking all the Supreme Court justices for their service. He specifically recognized retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, stating, “Justice Kennedy, America owes you a profound debt of gratitude for a lifetime of noble service to our nation. And I want to thank you very much.”

After thanking several others, including Antonin Scalia’s widow Maureen and White House Counsel Don McGahn, and then welcoming Kavanaugh’s family, Trump shifted to deliberately address the elephant in the room — the Democrat-orchestrated hit-job against Kavanaugh. Trump declared:

I would like to begin tonight’s proceeding differently than perhaps any other event of such magnitude. On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize 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. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process.

[In] our country, a man or woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. And with that, I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent. …

Margaret and Liza, your father is a great man. He is a man of decency, character, kindness, and courage who has devoted his life to serving his fellow citizens. And now from the bench of our nation’s highest court, your father will defend the eternal rights and freedoms of all Americans.

Trump also acknowledged the Republican senators who worked to confirm Kavanaugh, specifically highlighting the leadership of Mitch McConnell (KY), Chuck Grassley (IA) and all the Republicans of the Judiciary Committee, as well as Susan Collins (R-ME) “for her brave and eloquent speech.”

After taking the Judicial Oath, Kavanaugh spoke of his gratitude for all those who have influenced and impacted him throughout his life. Near the end of his comments, he acknowledged that “the Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional,” but he noted that “although the Senate confirmation process tested me, as it has tested others, it did not change me.” He pledged, “My approach to judging remains the same. A good judge must be an umpire, a neutral and impartial decider who favors no litigant or policy. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.” He then concluded, “As a Justice on the Supreme Court, I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American Rule of Law.”

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