US President Donald Trump has apologised to new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family for the "terrible suffering" they had to endure, saying the "fair-minded" judge deserves a "dignified evaluation" and not a campaign based on "lies and deception". Judge Kavanaugh, 53, was confirmed by the Senate on Saturday in a 50-48 vote following an acrimonious debate over his nomination triggered by a series of sexual assault allegations during the last phase of his confirmation process. "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," Trump said at a White House ceremonial swearing in ceremony of Kavanaugh. The ceremony was attended by Kavanaugh's family members, other judges of the Supreme Court, top Senators, members of the Trump administration and a battery of reporters.
Kavanaugh was accused by three women of sexual misconduct, including California professor Christine Blasey Ford, "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," Trump said amidst applause from the audience. Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement early this year."Known as a judge's judge, he is fair-minded, unbiased, and even-handed person. He understands that justice must be divorced from the passions of the day - tethered instead to the enduring foundation of our republic: the Constitution," he said. Justice Kavanaugh fills the place left by Anthony Kennedy. Soon, Justice Kennedy will administer the Judicial Oath to Brett Kavanaugh, just as he did last year for Justice Gorsuch, Trump said.
"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," Trump said. After his ceremonial swearing in, Kavanaugh told the audience that all his new law clerks at the Supreme Court were women - a first in the history of the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh sought to play down the political maelstrom that surrounded his confirmation, and said he would serve "one nation". "Although the Senate confirmation process tested me, as it has tested others, it did not change me. My approach to judging remains the same," he said. A good judge must be an umpire, a neutral and impartial decider who favours no litigant or policy. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law, he said. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent, Kavanaugh said.