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Kavanaugh Recalls His Confirmation at Conservative Legal Group’s Annual Gala



Leonard A. Leo, the Federalist Society’s executive vice president, has advised Mr. Trump on judicial nominations and worked on the confirmations of the two Trump appointees, Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. The society itself, its website says, does not take political positions or endorse nominees.

On Thursday, Justice Kavanaugh said he had been coming to the society’s annual dinners for 25 years, adding that its work is misunderstood. “Its primary point of view,” he said of the group, “is to be open to all points of view.”

“I have always been,” he said, “a proud member of the Federalist Society.”

Justice Kavanaugh’s generally mild tone on Thursday was in sharp contrast to his heated response to accusations at his confirmation hearings last year that he had committed sexual assault in high school.

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” he said angrily at the time, “fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

Justice Kavanaugh, now 54, was confirmed by a vote of 50 to 48.

On the Supreme Court bench, Justice Kavanaugh has a calm manner, asking focused questions of both sides. His written opinions have been clear, accessible and not particularly ideological. In his first term on the court, which ended in June, he was in the majority in divided cases more than any other justice.

His new colleagues have welcomed and praised him. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the senior member of the court’s liberal wing, said in June that she was pleased by his hiring practices. “Justice Kavanaugh made history by bringing on board an all-female law clerk crew,” she said. “Thanks to his selections, the court has this term, for the first time ever, more women than men serving as law clerks.”

On Thursday, Justice Kavanaugh praised all of his new colleagues. “They are patriots,” he said. “They love our court, and they love our country.”

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