Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Brett Kavanaugh hears first arguments as Supreme Court justice

Brett Kavanaugh hears first arguments as Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh hears first arguments as Supreme Court justice
Melissa Porter | 10 October, 2018, 03:11

"We wish you a long and happy career in our common calling", Roberts said.

Fulfilling a promise from his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh has hired four female clerks - something that no other Supreme Court justice has ever done. Kavanaugh has to feel gratified for the endorsement from his colleagues and from his mentor, as it's not a bad way to start off his first day in his public role as associate justice. It wasn't as entertaining as a question from Roberts, who described grasping some cash and asking his clerks to pull it from his hand as a kind of impromptu test of a criminal law definition.

Based on Tuesday's arguments, defendants could win in both cases, with liberal justices likely to be joined by some conservatives in the majority. It should remind everyone that Kavanaugh was no judicial radical, but instead a mainstream jurist interested in institutional integrity rather than ideology. "If Justice Roberts sits on the complaints, then they will reside in a kind of purgatory and will never be adjudicated", said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers.

Hundreds of protesters had also swarmed the steps of the Supreme Court. In this case, the issue turned on whether a Florida robbery statute would call for an enhanced sentence.

Kavanaugh, a veteran of such proceedings after 12 years on an influential USA 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.

He took his seat at the right end of the mahogany bench in the ornate courtroom, wearing traditional black robes like the other justices.

"You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent", Trump said to Kavanaugh.

Protesters held signs that said, "We will not forget" and "We do not consent", following the acrimonious fight that culminated in Kavanaugh's 50-48 confirmation by the Senate.

Even though he was already sworn in, a swearing-in ceremony for Kavanaugh is set for 7 p.m. on Monday at the White House, prolonging a victory lap for Trump. "My focus now is to be the best justice I can be".

Kavanaugh has also begun moving in to his new office at the Supreme Court, taking over space previously used by Justice Samuel Alito, who moved into offices vacated by Kennedy. They point out he served for 12 years on the country's second most important court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where he penned more than 300 opinions, many of which were upheld by the Supreme Court. "My goal is to be a great justice for all Americans and for all of America".

Kavanaugh will be closely scrutinized from his first day on the bench.

So far this term, there are no blockbuster cases on the court's docket, but significant issues concerning LGBT rights, the Affordable Care Act, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and voting rights issues are percolating through the lower courts.

Kagan alluded to legislation that aims to clarify the law and asked the attorney arguing for the federal government whether the Justice Department backed the effort.

Alaska Republican party leaders plan to consider whether to reprimand senator Lisa Murkowski for opposing Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation.