After possibly the most divisive Supreme Court nomination process in American history, Brett Kavanaugh finally took his seat on the Supreme Court. It was a long and protracted road for Kavanaugh — one which saw Democrats push for an investigation into sexual assault allegations while Republicans defended him at every turn. President Donald Trump went so far as to refer to the new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court as “flawless,” according to reports from The Guardian.
However, when Kavanaugh put on his robes for the first time and began his first day of work, all of the debate and the anger sunk into the background. Kavanaugh’s arrival was attended by a brief greeting from Chief Justice John Roberts, who said that he took “great pleasure” in seeing Kavanaugh join their ranks. Roberts also wished Kavanaugh “a long and happy career,” before the Justices got back to the business of their work.
Lawyers approached the bench to be sworn in. Kavanaugh spoke in quiet conversation as he sat next to Associate Justice Elena Kagan, both laughing at each other’s comments.
The first case that came before Kavanaugh had very little to do with the culture-shifting decisions that some hope — or fear — that he will make throughout his stint on the Supreme Court. Instead, it focused on a Florida robbery conviction from 1997 — and whether said crime can become a violent felony conviction without the employment of “physical force.” The usage of physical force during the criminal proceedings would trigger a mandatory minimum sentence due to a federal law regarding people with three prior convictions for violent felonies convicted of illegal firearm possession.
Brett Kavanaugh: divisive fight fades into silence on justice's first day https://t.co/PuWvfL5HBB— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) October 9, 2018
While a mouthful of a case, this issue never came up during the confirmation process. Topics such as the interpretation of executive power, abortion, and Obamacare brought the most fierce debate during the confirmation hearings — when the topic could be moved at all away from Kavanaugh’s alleged moral failings.
This type of deep legal interpretation constitutes the majority of the work done by the Supreme Court. Interpreting troublesome legal jargon will take up most of Kavanaugh’s time for however long he serves in his current capacity.
The veteran members of the highest judiciary approached the debate with a sense of enjoyment. They talked back and forth with the lawyers present and even cracked jokes. At one point Justice Sonia Sotomayor pinched Justice Neil Gorsuch in an effort to give a hypothetical example of the use of physical force.
Kavanaugh eventually joined the debate, asking a question about Supreme Court precedent. He then followed up with three more questions, each one accompanied by a noticeable hush in the room. However, by the end of the case, Kavanaugh’s questions and comments had become a part of the everyday routine for the Supreme Court.
There were protests outside, but protesters had dispered by the time that the first case was completed. There were television cameras present that were eventually turned off and carted as reporters waited for something exciting to happen — eventually being denied of said sport.
What Kavanaugh’s nomination will ultimately mean for the Supreme Court may take months or even years to fully discern. But on day one, it was all just business as usual, with that business moving on to”whether burglary of a nonpermanent or mobile structure that is adapted or used for overnight accommodation can qualify as ‘burglary’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984.”