A Newly Conservative Court?

Jess Bravin, writing in The Wall Street Journal, thought so.

When Justice Brett Kavanaugh takes the bench Tuesday, it will mark the culmination of the Republican Party’s 50-year drive to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

At the least, he argued,

[A] five-justice majority more sensitive to regulatory and litigation costs on business should tip more outcomes toward industry and employers, imposing higher bars for workers, consumers and environmentalists, according to legal experts who have studied the court and Justice Kavanaugh’s jurisprudence. At the same time, the new majority is likely to show more sympathy for social conservatives resisting the encroachment of gay rights and access to contraceptives, as well as greater tolerance for state initiatives to curb the availability of abortion.

Not so much.

Bravin is either naive or excessively optimistic.  Kavanaugh’s confirmation has produced no five-justice majority.  The only Conservatives on the Court are Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh.  Four others form a liberal bloc convinced that the Constitution needs updating in accordance with the climate of the era.

The ninth Justice, Chief Justice John Roberts, is too squishy, too enamored of “perceptions of Court legacy” to be reliably conservative. He’ll find middle ground for the sake of that perception instead of basing rulings on the text of the Constitution or the law in front of the Court.

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