Justice Brett Kavanaugh received a warm welcome from his new colleagues Tuesday as he made a low-key public debut at the Supreme Court, in a collegial scene that stood in sharp contrast to the chaos of his confirmation process.
President Trump, however, began the ceremony with a sharp partisan rebuke. Kavanaugh showed no expression as he took his seat on the right end of the bench, even as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. welcomed him.
They held up signs that said, "We do not consent", "We will not yield", and "You failed your mom".
Any technical arguments are likely to be overshadowed by Kavanaugh's first public appearance wearing the traditional black robe donned by Supreme Court justices.
Justice Kavanaugh, 53, brought the nine-member court back to full strength after the retirement of long-serving Justice Anthony Kennedy in July. That shift delights judicial conservative who believe the confirmation will be one of Trump's most lasting legacies.
He said that "under historic scrutiny", Kavanaugh was "proven innocent".
He officially took his oath Saturday evening, hours after the Senate confirmed him on a 50-48 vote.
Two other women also accused Justice Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct dating to the 1980s. Kavanaugh emphatically denied the allegations.
He later wrote in a newspaper opinion piece that he regretted some of his comments. But critics said Kavanaugh's demeanor before the Senate Judiciary Committee raised questions about his temperament and potential political bias in deciding cases. "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.
He tried to distinguish between President Donald Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh this year and his own decision not to have the GOP-run Senate consider President Barack Obama's high court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.
Democrats had fought tooth and nail to stop Kavanaugh´s candidacy, claiming that the accomplished, conservative-minded judge was not suited to the Supreme Court.
At a White House ceremony on Monday night, Kavanaugh said he was starting his new job with "no bitterness", seeking to be "a force for stability and unity".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday praised his party's senators, whom he said re-established the "presumption of innocence" in confirmation hearings.
Kavanaugh met with all four of them on Sunday in his new chambers, which formerly belonged to fellow Justice Alito.
The accusations transformed the clash from a routine struggle over judicial ideology into an angry jumble of questions about victims' rights and personal attacks on nominees.
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.
The cases, involving a Florida robbery and burglaries in Tennessee and Arkansas, challenged the types of crimes that qualify as violent felonies under that law and can lead to 15-year mandatory minimum sentences.