Donald Trump, first woman attend ceremony for Brett Kavanaugh

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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended the investiture ceremony for newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Thursday.

The investiture is a welcoming ceremony held for new justices and was attended by many members of the Washington, D.C., conservative legal community, according to The Hill newspaper.

Amy Howe, a former editor of SCOTUS Blog, said many judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where Kavanaugh judged previously, attended the ceremony. That included Merrick Garland, who was nominated in 2016 by President Barack Obama to fill the seat that Justice Neil Gorsuch now holds but never got a hearing.

The Trumps were joined by Federalist Society executive vice president Leonard Leo, former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, former Clinton independent counsel Kenneth Starr and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

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Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker formally requested that Kavanaugh’s commission be read and accepted by the court during the ceremony. The commission was signed by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned Wednesday.

“With the ceremony nearing the end, Kavanaugh ascends to the bench to take the judicial oath,” Howe wrote. “On his way to the middle of the bench, where the chief justice (John Roberts) is waiting, Kavanaugh passes Gorsuch and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas and shakes hands with them.

“After taking the oath, Kavanaugh then moves toward his seat on the far opposite end of the bench, shaking hands with Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan along the way. After Roberts issues a ‘warm welcome’ to Kavanaugh, the ceremony is over – although a reception, to which the press corps is not invited, will likely go on for far longer than the six-minute ceremony,” she continued.

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The most notable absence from the ceremony was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was recovering at George Washington University Hospital after breaking three ribs in a fall at the Supreme Court building Wednesday evening, according to a statement from the court.

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