Supreme Court to Formally Welcome Kavanaugh

By Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson

There will be yet another ceremony honoring the 102nd Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The two previous ceremonies took place in private in the justices’ conference room and via television at the White House. This ceremony will be for invited guests in the Supreme Court’s majestic courtroom.

Like many things at the court, the “investiture ceremony” is steeped in tradition.

To kick off the short ceremony, Kavanaugh will likely be seated in the two-centuries old “mahogany bench chair used by Chief Justice John Marshall from 1819 to 1835,” according to the Supreme Court’s website. Every justice since Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. has begun their investiture in the “treasured object.”

Kavanaugh will not be seated on the high court bench, where he’s sat with his colleagues during oral arguments since being confirmed in early-October. Instead, he’ll be in the gallery with other high-profile guests. That’s likely to include President Donald Trump, who attended Neil Gorsuch’s investiture—Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee.

Once the court is gaveled into session, a high ranking Department of Justice official will move for the court to read Kavanaugh’s commission.

Later, Kavanugh will be escorted to the bench with his colleagues, where Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will once again administer the judicial oath.

Roberts administered a different one—the constitutional oath—shortly after the Senate vote confirming Kavanaugh on Oct. 6. That was immediately followed by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy administering the judicial oath. Kennedy administered that oath again two days later in the White House.

The special session will then be adjourned.

One aspect of the ceremony that won’t occur is the iconic walk down the courthouse steps that traditionally follows the investiture ceremony.

The Supreme Court announced Nov. 2 that Kavanaugh will forego his walk with Roberts “out of an abundance of caution” due to security concerns, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg told Bloomberg Law.