Brett Kavanaugh took the bench with his new Supreme Court colleagues for the first time on Tuesday this week. The new justice asked a handful of questions in the first argument of the day, following a traditional welcome from Chief Justice John Roberts, who wished Kavanaugh “a long and happy career in our common calling.”

Kavanaugh seemed to defer to his colleagues, by waiting about 20 minutes into the first round of arguments.  He did participate in a lively discussion among the justices about how much force is needed to make a robbery violent under federal law and asked questions on both sides in arguments over increased prison sentences for repeat offenders.  As Justice Neil Gorsuch did in his first arguments last year, Kavanaugh focused on the importance of following earlier decisions of the court.

Kavanaugh’s wife and two daughters were in seats reserved for justices’ guest, along with retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh replaced on the bench.

Justice Kennedy conducted the new justice’s ceremonial swearing in at the White House on Monday night. For his part, Kavanaugh said Monday night that while he was tested by the confirmation process.  It didn’t change the way he plans to approach the job.  “I take this office with gratitude and no bitterness.  On the Supreme Court, I will seek to be a force for stability and unity.  I was no appointed to serve one party or one interest but to serve oner nation,” Kavanaugh said.

There was a heightened security at the court. with extra barricades around the court’s front plaza, but far fewer crowds that had blocked the court’s formal entrance soon after the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh.  There was  no disruptions within the courtroom.