Brett Kavanaugh takes his place on bench

Activists protest on the steps and plaza of the Supreme Court after the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill Saturday Oct. 6 2018 in Washington

New US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh dived into his new job on Tuesday, shrugging off the controversy over his nomination and firing off a handful of questions at his first hearing, a case on prison reform.

Kavanaugh was confirmed by a razor-thin 50-48 majority in the U.S. Senate following accusations of sexual misconduct, including one of sexual assault as a high-schooler, that he emphatically denied.

On Monday evening Kavanaugh, 53, joined family members, friends and President Trump at the White House for a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony, where the new justice tried to ease the partisan wounds from his confirmation process.

Trump slammed Kavanaugh's opponents for a "campaign of personal destruction".

With justices seated by seniority, President Donald Trump's two appointees will flank the Supreme Court bench, Justice Neil Gorsuch at one end and Kavanaugh at the other.

He said that "under historic scrutiny", Mr Kavanaugh was "proven innocent".

House Democrats' lead in the generic congressional ballot has slightly increased in the wake of the bombshell hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, according to a newly released survey from CNN - numbers that conflict with some other recent polling and push back on the narrative that the Kavanaugh hearings were a political win for the GOP.

Any technical arguments are likely to be overshadowed by Kavanaugh's first public appearance wearing the traditional black robe donned by Supreme Court justices.

Kavanaugh also noted the first group of clerks he's hired as a justice are all women, a first in the history of the Supreme Court.

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"However much we might sympathize or agree with EPA's policy objectives, EPA may act only within the boundaries of its statutory authority", Kavanaugh wrote in the ruling. Kavanaugh already has been at the Supreme Court preparing for his first day on the bench Tuesday.

Justice Kavanaugh's nomination had appeared safe until Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in California, last month went public with allegations that the judge had sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they were high school students in Maryland.

After an extra Federal Bureau of Investigation probe - which media reports say was drastically curtailed by the White House - also found nothing new, Kavanaugh was finally voted into the coveted post.

Mr Kavanaugh said he was not bitter despite the "contentious" confirmation.

'This has been a shot in the arm for us going into the fall election, ' he told reporters in Louisville on Monday of Kavanaugh's confirmation. "The Supreme Court is an institution of law - it is not a partisan or political institution".

Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday evening in a private ceremony as protesters chanted outside the court building.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, with several seats up for grabs in November.

McConnell spoke on "Fox News Sunday" and CBS' "Face the Nation".

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