Susan Collins of ME was among the senators who new Justice Brett Kavanaugh singled out for "special gratitude" Monday evening during his ceremonial swearing in to the Supreme Court at the White House.
"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the bad pain and suffering you have been forced to endure", he said at the ceremony in the ornate White House East Room.
He said that "under historic scrutiny", Kavanaugh was "proven innocent".
Kavanaugh, acknowledging the "contentious and emotional" fight over his confirmation, said he had "no bitterness" and promised to "always be a team player on the team of nine".
Also in attendance was his predecessor, the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.
He has already hired four law clerks - all female, a first in the court's history.
Before Tuesday's arguments, the justices turned aside appeals of a 2017 ruling authored by Kavanaugh while on the lower court striking down a 2015 environmental rule imposed under Democratic former President Barack Obama regulating a potent greenhouse gas linked to climate change. The two networks combined on Saturday reached just over 2 million viewers for the Senate vote.
On Monday, Trump kept up attacks on Democrats for opposing Kavanaugh, pressing on an issue that Republicans have used to energize their voters.
The president's rendering of a verdict on the sexual assault allegations risks further antagonizing political opponents at a moment that the "Me Too" movement demands accountability for sexual misconduct. Americans opposed his confirmation 51 percent to 41 percent, according to a CNN poll conducted October 4-7.
Kavanaugh's confirmation proceedings exploded in controversy after Christine Blasey Ford went public with allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982.
Now McConnell is singing a different tune, but he says he isn't ignoring precedent, because in 2020, Republicans will, most likely, have control of the Senate and the White House.
Other major polls reflected similar sentiment.
Kavanaugh is expected to vote with his conservative colleagues on the bench, even on some hot-button issues where Kennedy served as a swing vote.
"I think you're going to see a lot of things happen on November 6 that would not have happened before", Trump said.
Brett Kavanaugh is about to hear his first arguments as a Supreme Court justice.
One recent video that has gone viral showed two young protesters dancing around a lone, elderly, pro-Kavanaugh protester silently holding up signs. "The Supreme Court is an institution of law - it is not a partisan or political institution".
The White House event was purely ceremonial.
Protesters demonstrate on first day with newly sworn in Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the court at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2018. It wasn't as entertaining as a question from Roberts, who described grasping some cash and asking his clerks to pull it from his hand as a kind of impromptu test of a criminal law definition. He took his oaths of office in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court on Saturday evening.
The other eight justices also were at the White House on Monday.