Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh received a standing ovation while delivering the keynote speech at the Federalist Society’s Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
This speech was his first since his tumultuous confirmation last fall that led him to keep a low profile during his first year on the bench.
Kavanaugh chose to focus on his gratitude to those who have stood by him instead of the recurring theme of President Donald Trump’s numerous judicial appointments touched on by the other speakers, the Washington Examiner reported.
“My friends paid a heavy price — way too heavy a price. I’m well aware of that, and it pains me daily,” Kavanaugh said.
“I signed up for what I knew would be an ugly process — maybe not that ugly — but my friends did not. And yet in the midst of it all, they stood up and stood by me.”
“People risked their jobs, their livelihoods. Some of them lost business,” he continued, according to The New York Times.
“They were yelled at, insulted, threatened. Many of my friends lost other friends merely because they supported me.”
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, he faced unsubstantiated accusations of sexual misconduct as a high school and college student. After weeks of the contentious process of testimonies and allegations, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh on a 50-48 vote.
Although the justice received a warm welcome from the 2,300 guests in the main hall of Union Station Thursday night, protesters outside tried to disrupt the evening.
The Federalist Society’s hosting a black tie dinner inside Union Station tonight, so protestors rolled up a big screen and loud speakers blaring Christine Blasey Ford’s Kavanaugh testimony as a welcome to attendees pic.twitter.com/kX4VjXhgkz
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) November 14, 2019
The testimony of accuser Christine Blasey Ford was played on a large screen, and protesters wore red cloaks like those worn on “The Handmaid’s Tale” while chanting “shame” and “I believe Dr. Ford,” The Hill reported.
While Kavanaugh spoke, the demonstrators also reportedly blew rape whistles, although they failed to disrupt his speech.
The Supreme Court justice told the audience he believed the courts were headed in the right direction.
“I am optimistic about the future of America and our independent judiciary,” Kavanaugh said.
He also praised his colleagues and said, “They are patriots. They love our court, and they love our country,” according to The Times.
The black-tie event occurred on the same day as the Senate confirmation of Steven Menashi to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The nominee, who was fiercely opposed by many Democrats, was confirmed in a 51-41 vote along party lines, Fox News reported.
The Trump administration has gotten 162 federal judges confirmed, more than any other recent president, according to The Hill.
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