WASHINGTON — Susan Collins of Maine was among the senators who new Justice Brett Kavanaugh singled out for “special gratitude” Monday evening during his ceremonial swearing in to the Supreme Court at the White House.

Kavanaugh was sworn in by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy after he officially became a member of the high court Saturday. The other eight justices were all in attendance.

Kavanaugh, noting that the court “is not a partisan or political institution,” vowed to “always be a team player on a team of nine.”

He went on to thank President Trump for his unwavering support and cited Kennedy, for whom Kavanaugh clerked, as a role model and mentor. After thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley for their leadership during the contentious confirmation process, he praised the senators who had supported him.

“I give special gratitude to senators Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, John Kyl and Lindsey Graham. They’re a credit to the country and the Senate,” Kavanaugh said. “I’ll be forever grateful to each of them, and to all the senators who carefully considered my nomination.”

The Senate vote approving Kavanaugh’s nomination followed a bitter partisan fight that became a firestorm after sexual misconduct allegations emerged. He emphatically denied the allegations.


Kavanaugh described the confirmation process as “contentious and emotional,” but said he has “no bitterness.”

He said all four of the clerks who will work for him at the high court are women.

Trump slammed Kavanaugh’s opponents for a “campaign of personal destruction.”

Trump apologized to Kavanaugh and his family for “the terrible suffering you have been forced to endure.”

He said that “under historic scrutiny,” Kavanaugh was “proven innocent.”

Kavanaugh already has been at the Supreme Court preparing for his first day on the bench Tuesday.

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