Trump presides over Kavanaugh's ceremonial swearing-in

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WASHINGTON -

President Trump presided over a ceremonial swearing-in for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Monday evening at the White House.

The televised event was held in the East Room.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Kavanaugh sworn in as Supreme Court Justice

It comes two days after Kavanaugh was officially sworn in Saturday night, hours after the bitterly polarized U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed him.

The near party-line Senate vote was 50-48, capping a fight that seized the national conversation after claims emerged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted women three decades ago - which he emphatically denied.

President Trump referenced the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh by issuing an apology to him at the top of his remarks and blaming a campaign of “lies.”

"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure," the president said. "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. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process."

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The ceremonial follow-up event is fairly unusual for new justices. Only Samuel Alito and Stephen Breyer participated in a White House event after they had been sworn-in and begun work as a justice, according to the court's records on oath-taking by the current crop of justices.

Kavanaugh, along with his law clerks, has already been at the Supreme Court preparing for his first day on the bench Tuesday when the justices will hear arguments in two cases about longer prison terms for repeat offenders. The new justice's four clerks all are women, the first time that has happened.

Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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