Transcript for SPECIAL REPORT: Brett Kavanaugh sworn-in as Supreme Court Justice
This is an ABC news special report. Now reporter. Tom guns. We are coming on the air right now for the ceremonial swearing in by president troubled the newest Supreme Court justice Brett Cavanaugh. Now the 102 associate justice of the court. He was officially sworn in on Saturday just hours after the senate voted fifty to 48 along mostly party lines to confirming it was the Nero is vote to confirm. In more than 130 years with one Democrat and one Republican crossing party lines. It is a major victory for president from who is now point. Two justices to the court and his term is not even halfway over. Of course makes wording comes after weeks of contentious battles over allegations of sexual misconduct with Cavanaugh was in high school and college allegations of course he has tonight. ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl's at the White House and John this caps weeks of some of the most contentious time ever in Washington DC. Tom this was a brutally contentious confirmation process aimed at. Victory for the president. One that he predicts will energize his supporters going it's in the mid term elections now just 29 days away as the president celebrated the victory today. He lashed out at Democrats saying they Kavanagh. Was the victim of a hoax carried out by quote. People who are evil. Kavanagh takes the bench on Tuesday Tom but these divisions will not be over not be overcome any time soon. John standbys were taking a live look right now of the useful in some of the Supreme Court justices taking their seats as we await the president at any moment. And here is justice Brett Cavanaugh is family coming in his wife of course actually and his daughters Margaret analyze it they have been so through so much. Over the past few weeks listening to the allegations allegations of court justice Kavanagh has the night we see. Dom again as he's entered this room as well and that looks like justice Brett capitalist. Parents also here for the swearing in ceremony as we await the president to come in. To deliver some remarks for this ceremonial swearing is as we Manson. Judge for a capital was thirty sworn in. Over the weekend we hear the music being played now gentlemen let's president listening to the president accompanied by the honorable Anthony M. Kennedy. And justice Brent M Kavanagh. Okay. Yeah. Okay. It's. Good that it's been happening for over estimated now presents some sort of basking. In this celebration as people are hall arena cheering. As justice Brent Cavanaugh looks over at. Out of Supreme Court justice let's listen and members of congress. Members of the cabinet honored guests. And fellow Americans. It is my privilege to address you tonight from the east room of the White House. We are gathered together this evening for a truly. Momentous occasion. I have long been told that the most important decision. A president can make is the appointment of a Supreme Court justice. Well in just a few moments. We will proudly swearing. The newest member of the United States Supreme Court justice. Brent Cavanaugh. Joining us for tonight's ceremony. Is every sitting Supreme Court justice. Chief Justice Roberts thank you. Justice Thomas. Justice Ginsburg. Thank you. Justice Breyer. And pieces. For. Justice Alito. Justice Sotomayor. Justice Kagan. And justice course which are. Would also. Like to send our deep appreciation to. Maureen Scalia the life of the late great Antonin Scalia. And also. To our White House counsel dom again thank you. We are thrilled to be joined his evening by justice Anthony Kennedy. 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. Very special and Trace your guests tonight. Our justice Cabot as amazing wife actually thank you actually. There do. Beautiful daughters Margaret and Liza. And we are also Julian just his Cameron's mom and more open ended and comes. I would like to begin tonight's proceedings differently than perhaps any other event. Of such magnitude. On behalf of our nation I want to apologize. To Brett and the entire caballero family for the terrible pain and suffering. You have been forced to endure. Those who stepped 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 Kavanagh friendly violates every notion of fairness. Decency and due process. Our country. A man or a walk. Must always be presumed innocent unless and until. Proven guilty. And with that I must day. That use air. Under historic. Scrutiny. Were proven innocent thank you. Margaret analyze your father is a great man he's 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 you know. We are joined tonight by a leader who was never wavered. In his support and devotion. To the rule of law. And two Brett Cavanaugh this elevation. Tour very very hard. And he truly has done just an incredible and wonderful job for the American people majority leader Mitch the car. And. I think that's the biggest tent he's ever receive that is done they don't get it rich. You're great thank you very much appreciated. I'd like to thank another man whose principled leadership has earned widespread admiration chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Chuck Grassley thank you. We are grateful. To all of the senators on the Judiciary Committee who fought so hard for this confirmation. Senators Lindsey Graham. John Cornyn. Orrin hatch. Mike Leigh. Ted Cruz. Then sense. Jeff flake. Mike cradle. Thom Tillis. And John Kennedy. Thank you also to. Rob Portman sitting right here thank you. And finally we are indebted to senator Susan. Combs. For her brave. And eloquent speech. And her declaration that when passions are most inflamed. Fairness is most in jeopardy how true how true. Right Kavanagh is a man of outstanding intellect a brilliant scholar. And his credentials are unsurpassed. A graduate of both Yale college at Yale Law School. He has taught at Harvard Yale and Georgetown. When he's not working or with his family he's giving back. To his community. He spent 26 years in public service and just like just to score such he clerked for Justice Kennedy. For the last twelve years Brett was a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Widely regarded as our nation's second highest court. During his tenure he authored over 300 opinions. Distinguished by their masterful. And impartial. Reasoning. Known as a judge's judge he is a fair minded. Unbiased. And even handed persons. He understands that justice must be divorced from the passions of the day. Tethered instead to the enduring foundation. A power republic the constitution. Just as Kavanagh fills a place left by Anthony Kennedy. Soon. Justice Kennedy who will administer the judicial oath. Do Brett Cavanaugh. Just as he did last year. For justice scores which. This will be the first time a Supreme Court justice. Has ever sworn in a former clerk. To take his seat. A beautiful moment which reminds us. That freedom is a tradition passed down from generation. To generation and it's a big statement and I want to thank you for that someone so. So beautiful. Margaret analyzes presents tonight reminds us. Like this. Historic event while about your father is all about. It's about what kind of a nation we're going to be and what kind of a country our children. Will inherit. It is up to each of us into all Americans watching tonight. To answer that question. It is up to us to reclaim our heritage of the quote an impartial justice. It is up to us to rededicate ourselves to the traditions and wisdom. A valor founders. And it is up to us to renew the bonds of love loyalty and affection that link. Us all together as one great American family. Want. Just pray we are successful in this task. And let us pray that all of America's children. Will grow up in a country that is fair and just and safe and strong and free. And let us ask god to bless just as captain. And his Stanley as they embark. On this incredible journey together. I now invite. Justice Brett cabinet to come forward. In to take the judicial. Oath thank you very much. Through the office without. You know I'm old faithful. Williams or. Story can perform. All the relief and confidence. All duties incumbent upon me. Associate justice of the and so if you come from. Crews were not. Who's involved in my faith to help you go. Looking live now in our news Supreme Court justice Brett Cavanaugh has just taken the you know. In what usually is a ceremonial move but the president tonight. Essentially tossed listened to some of that pomp and circumstance and delivering a reckoning of the speech. Saying that losing do something a little different tonight and that's exactly what the president did he apologized. To justice Cabot on his family on behalf of the nation. Saying that you served under historic scrutiny were proved anything the president essentially serving as judge and jury inside the east room tonight. Justice capitals mystique let's listen in. Mr. President. Thank you for the great honor. Evil pointing me to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court. I've seen first sense you're deep appreciation. For the vital role of the American judiciary. I am grateful for your steadfast. Unwavering support throughout this process. And I'm grateful to you and mrs. trop. For the exceptional overwhelming courtesy. U of extended to my family and me. Mr. President. Thank you for everything. I am honored. To serve on the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice John Roberts. Chief Justice Roberts is a principled independent and inspiring leader for the American judiciary. As a country. We are fortunate to have John Roberts. As Chief Justice of the United States. I'm honored to serve alongside. All of my new colleagues. Each of whom I know. In each of whom I greatly admire. And deeply respect. All nine of us Revere the constitution. Article three of the constitution. Provides that the judicial power. Shall be vested in one Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is an institution of law. It is not a partisan or political institution. The justices do not sit on opposite sides of denial. We do not caucus in separate rooms. The Supreme Court is a team of nine. And I will always be a team player on the team of an armed. As a new justice. On the Supreme Court. I understand the responsibility that I bear. Some thirty years ago standing here in the east room with President Reagan. If any Kennedy took the oath to be a new justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy became one of the most consequential justices in American history. I served as justice Kennedy's law clerk in 1993. To me Justice Kennedy is a mentor. A friends. And a hero. On the Supreme Court he was a model civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the judiciary. And zealously guarded the individual liberties secured by the constitution. Justice Kennedy established a legacy of liberty. For ourselves and our posterity. I will always be humbled. And proud. To sit in justice Kennedy's seat on the Supreme Court. I thank the members of United States senate. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. For his leadership and steady resolve. I think Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley for his wisdom and fairness. And I gives special gratitude to senators Rob Portman Susan Collins Joseph mansion. Jon Kyl and Lindsey Graham. There credit the contrary in the senate. I'll be forever grateful to each of them into all the senators who carefully considered my nomination. Presiding over the final vote in the senate on Saturday was vice president parents. I'm grateful to the vice president for his sound advice and faithful support. I thank house counsel to the president Don McGann. Who was a warrior for fairness. And performed his critical duties in the finest traditions of our constitution. And I thank all the outstanding people in the White House the Department of Justice. And the senate who worked day and night on this nomination. One of a federal judges most important responsibilities is to hire four new law clerks each year. Law clerks are recent wall school graduates and they work in the judge's chambers for one year. There are among the best and brightest young lawyers in America. And they become the future leaders. Of the legal profession. I thank my former law clerks who devoted so much time and energy to support me during the confirmation process. Inspired by my mom who was a TrailBlazer for women in the law all I've worked hard throughout my career to provoke promote the advancement of women. Women still face many barriers in the American workplace. And all of us have a responsibility to address that problem. During my twelve years on the DC circuit. A majority of my law clerks for women. And almost all of them went on to clerk at the Supreme Court. But clerks upon the Supreme Court is one of the most coveted achievements. And credentials and American walls. I'm proud that all four of my newly hired law clerks at the Supreme Court are women. If first in the history of the Supreme Court. Tonight I thank all my friends. So many amazing and fearless friends. From my high school days college wall school Clark king the bush White House including president George W. Bush. From the judiciary teaching coaching. Playing sports the vibrant loyal and tight knit Catholic community here in the DC area. And so many others. Ashley and are grateful for their prayers and for the prayers from the thousands and thousands of people we have heard from throughout America. Why give advice to young people speak to students I tell them. Cherish your friends look out for your friends. Lift up your friends. Love your friends. Our love all my friends. I thank my family. My mom Martha my dad editor here. On their only child's. My mom was one of Maryland's earliest women prosecutors in trial judges my dad taught me his work ethic and loved sports. They've given me a lifetime of love and on forever grateful to them. My daughters Margaret lives. Are Smart strong awesome girls. There in the middle of wall across looking forward to the upcoming basketball season. I thank their teachers for giving them the day off tomorrow so that they can come watch two cases being argued at the Supreme Court. My wife Ashley's a proud west Texan from Abilene Texas graduate of Abilene Cooper public high school. University of Texas and awesome. She's the dedicated town manager of our local community. She's got a deep faith she's in awesome mom. Great wife she is a rock I thank god every day for Ashley and mark network. The senate confirmation process. Was contentious. And emotional. That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be eight. I take this office with gratitude. And no bitterness. On the Supreme Court I will seek to be a force for stability and unity. My goal is to be a great justice. For all Americans. And for all of America. I'll work very hard to achieve that goal. I was not appointed to serve one part here one entrance. But to serve one nation. America's constitution walls protecting every person. Of every belief. In every backgrounds. Every lit again the Supreme Court can be assured. That I'll listen to their arguments. With respect. And an open minds. Every American can be assured. That I'll be an independent. And impartial justice. Devoted to equal justice under law. Although the suppress the senate confirmation process tested me. As it is tested others. Did not change me. My approach to judging remains the same. A good judge must be an umpire. The 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. In the wake of the senate confirmation process my approach to life. Also remains the same. I will continue to heed the message of Matthew 25. Our will continue to volunteer to serve the least fortunate among us are will continue to coach teach and tutor. Our continue to strive to be a good friends. Colleagues husbands and dad. As in the past our nation today faces challenges and divisions. But I'm an optimist. I live on the sun rise side of the mountain. I see the day that is coming. Not today that is gone. I am optimistic about the future of America. In the future of our independent judiciary the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. 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. Thank you all. Just like his confirmation hearings this swearing in ceremony of justice but capital was filled with surprises. And filled with emotion. The first surprise being. President trump apologize on behalf of the nation for the way he was treated and then declaring that. Justice Colville was proven innocent. From there just is Kavanagh seeing that he's appointed all women to be clerks. And that at one point he got emotional scene that love your friends the friends that defended him during this contentious. Confirmation hearings and finally talking about his wife actually seen quote she is a rock. I want to bring in a chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. Edge up first your reaction to this ceremony because it was filled with so many surprises. But it also felt like justice Cavanaugh was still campaigning for the job essentially wanting to put up period on this time that he deserves to be on the bench. Thomas was an extraordinary. Gusts are swearing in ceremony of swearing in unlike any we have ever seen for Supreme Court justice I thought it was. Very important. In terms of the symbolism of having. Of the eight other justices there. Watching this that is something you don't normally see you saw that. I believe because this was such a contentious process. And this was a message that the court itself will not be as bitterly divided as we saw the congress or the country. But up but didn't see the precedent and all lash out again at those that oppose cap and on say that he was a victim of a campaign of what he called lies and deception. All really quite quite a statement it had to make those justices feel quite uncomfortable and there you see judge justice content Thomas justice Ginsburg Ginsburg. Stepping out. Watching them what we wouldn't be if the president announced Kavanagh you actually saw all of the justices with the exception of of Ruth Bader Ginsburg applaud. As you know Supreme Court justices tend not to applaud when they go to the State of the Union Address. They did they don't applaud they have to sit there. But in this case all of them with the X section of Ginsburg were actually applauding and I thought it was interesting Tom to hear. From Kavanagh. He already has the job as ask you mentioned but he seemed to be. Campaigning at least trying to say that he was going to be a justice who would act independently. That he was going to be a justice they would act impartially I thought the most important quote. Was he said that he would be a force for stability and unity on the court. Trying to send a message to those who so bitterly opposed his nomination. That he will seek to be a fair justice despite this and type this process we've come through to put him on the court. Also saying he will be a team player or right. Jonathan Karl thanks so much for your reporting tonight again we just witnessed the swearing and it just suspect Cabot on the newest Supreme Court justice. Whose legacy starts right now and we're gonna return at a regular programming which for so review is world news tonight with David Muir we'll have much more on this story on your late local news and all the time. And abcnews.com. Thanks so much for joining us I'm Tommy Elvis in New York. This has been a special report from EB.
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