Three days after being confirmed to the US Supreme Court despite being accused of sexual assault, Justice Brett Kavanaugh took his seat on the bench on Tuesday alongside his eight new colleagues, cementing a conservative majority for years to come.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell disagree on whether the GOP would try to confirm a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year, something they prevented Democrats from doing in 2016. Progressives fought hard against Kavanaugh's confirmation due to his originalist jurisprudence and because he would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, often viewed as a "swing" vote in many 5-4 decisions.
Chief Justice John Roberts formally welcomed Kavanaugh, 53, to a court that now has five conservative members and four liberals.
Kavanaugh knows numerous justices, who all showed up at the White House Monday night.
Kavanaugh's confirmation gave the Republican president a major political victory ahead of crucial November 6 congressional elections, with Trump's second selection for the nation's highest judicial body.
He shares the name of the newest Supreme Court Justice, though not the same spelling. Christine Blasey Ford's bombshell interview with The Washington Post and her emotional testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee threatened to upend the nomination after she accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both in high school. Justice Sonia Sotomayor even appeared to playfully pinch Gorsuch's arm as she asked a question about the kind of physical force necessary to have a crime be treated as violent under a federal enhanced sentencing law.
At least 11 people die as 5.9 magnitude quake rocks northern Haiti
Sister Maryse Alsaint walks alongside a school damaged by a magnitude 5.9 quake the night before in Gros Morne, Haiti, today. Thousands of people along Haiti's north coast have dragged mattresses and chairs outside, fearing new aftershocks.
As Gorsuch did in his first arguments past year, Kavanaugh focused heavily on the importance of following earlier decisions of the court.
According to a report by CNN, Trump was quoted as saying, "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".
"I think a lot of Democrats are going to vote Republican", he said in his earlier comments outside the White House. That evening, he took his oaths of office in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court while protesters chanted outside the court building. He ended up asking questions of lawyers on both sides during two cases argued before the justices.
Trump has defended Kavanaugh from the allegations made against him over the last few weeks, mocking Ford and her recollection of events as he addressed a crowd of supporters at a rally in Southhaven, Mississippi, on October 3.
The groups - Be A Hero Team, Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership - said Collins' re-election campaign would have received the money if she'd voted against Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Trump has a busy campaign schedule to spread the word that the allegations against Kavanaugh were a "hoax that was set up by the Democrats" at what he's called a unsafe time for men who can be falsely accused.