New US Supreme Court Justice Pledges to Be 'Independent and Impartial'
The newest member of the United States Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, after a bruising confirmation process in the Senate that bitterly divided the nation, is vowing to hear every case with respect and an open mind.
"Every American can be assured that I will be an independent and impartial justice," Kavanaugh said in the White House East Room after a ceremonial swearing-in ahead of his first day on the bench Tuesday.
The other eight members of the highest court, a number of Republican senators crucial to the confirmation process and President Donald Trump watched Monday as retired Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath to Kavanaugh.
"The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That is now over," declared Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh added that the Supreme Court "is not a partisan or political institution," promising to "always be a team player on a team of nine."
Kavanaugh also announced that all four of his law clerks will be women — "a first in the history of the Supreme Court."
Minutes earlier, Trump alluded to the fierce Democratic Party opposition to the federal circuit court judge he had nominated to the bench who was accused of sexual misconduct in his youth.
The allegation by Christine Blasey Ford, now a university professor in California, nearly derailed Kavanaugh's confirmation. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.
"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure," Trump said. "You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent."
Kavanaugh was officially sworn in Saturday, just after the Senate narrowly confirmed him by a vote of 50-48, to the lifetime seat on the country's highest court.
IMF Downgrades Outlook for World Economy to 3.7 Percent Growth
The International Monetary Fund is downgrading its outlook for the world economy, citing rising interest rates and growing tensions over trade.
The IMF said Monday that the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017 but down from the 3.9 percent it was forecasting for 2018 in July. It slashed its outlook for the 19 countries that use the euro currency and for Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The report comes on the eve of the Oct. 12-14 meetings in Bali, Indonesia, of the IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.
The IMF expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.9 percent this year, the fastest pace since 2005 and unchanged from the July forecast. But it predicts that U.S. growth will slow to 2.5 percent next year as the effect of recent tax cuts wears off and as President Donald Trump's trade war with China takes a toll.
The Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, has raised short-term U.S. rates three times this year as the American economy gains strength more than nine years after the end of the Great Recession.
The fund kept its forecast for growth in the Chinese economy unchanged at 6.6 percent this year. Citing the impact of U.S. taxes on Chinese imports, however, the IMF shaved the outlook for China next year to 6.2 percent, which would be the country's slowest growth since 1990.
The United States and China — the world's two biggest economies — are sparring over Beijing's aggressive effort to challenge American technological dominance. Washington charges that China uses predatory tactics, including outright cybertheft and forcing foreign companies to hand of trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
The outlook for world trade overall also darkened: The fund expects global trade to grow 4.2 percent this year, down from 5.2 percent in 2017 and from the 4.8 percent it expected in July.