The moment conservatives have dreamed about for decades has arrived with Brett Kavanaugh joining the Supreme Court.
But with it comes the shadow of a bitter confirmation fight that is likely to hang over the court as it takes on divisive issues, especially those dealing with politics and women’s rights.
With Kavanaugh taking the place of the more moderate Anthony Kennedy, conservatives should have a working majority of five justices to restrict abortion rights, limit the use of race in college admissions and rein in federal regulators. The newly constituted court also might broaden gun rights, further relax campaign finance laws and halt the expansion of the rights of LGBT people, who three years ago won the right to marry nationwide with Kennedy in the majority.
Kavanaugh’s arrival on the court after the most tumultuous confirmation battle since Clarence Thomas faced allegations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill in 1991 hardens the alignment of party and ideology: five conservatives appointed by Republican presidents and four liberals by Democrats. That was true with Kennedy on the bench, but he voted with the liberals in cases that preserved abortion rights and affirmative action, expanded LGBT rights and limited capital punishment.
So what is Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy and how does it compare with that of the other Justices? Where will he sit within SCOTUS’ conservative voting bloc? And what changes can we anticipate from Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
With files from the Associated Press.
Barry McDonald, professor of law at Pepperdine University, his focus includes constitutional law and First Amendment law