(CBSNEWS/AP) – Brett Kavanaugh has taken the oaths of office to become the 114th Supreme Court justice, just a couple of hours after the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm him.
The quick swearing in enables Kavanaugh to begin work immediately in advance of arguments at the court Tuesday in two cases involving prison sentences for repeat offenders.
The court says Kavanaugh took the oath required by the Constitution and another for judges that is part of federal law in the same room where the justices meet for their private conferences.
The 53-year-old justice’s wife, children and parents were in attendance.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath. Kavanaugh is replacing Kennedy on the bench and once served as his law clerk.
The confirmation process was bitterly partisan, and disputes were exacerbated by allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh that began surfacing in September. In response to the allegations, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the allegation, while she has stood by her testimony.
The committee paused the nomination process for a week so the FBI could investigate. Afterwards, Republicans declared that the FBI had not found any corroborating witnesses, while Democrats complained the FBI didn’t look hard or long enough.
The final Senate vote was 50-48 margin in favor of confirming Kavanaugh to the highest court. Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana was not present at the vote because he was attending his daughter’s wedding. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who broke with her party on Friday and voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination, voted “present.”