The politics of the Supreme Court…

As I’ve stated before, Dems may win the current battle by scorching Kavanaugh, but may end up losing the war regarding SCOTUS balance.

Let’s put things in context…

Political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn developed  a measure to calibrate how liberal or conservative SCOTUS justices are … based on their rulings.

As near as I can tell, the measure is uncontested by either ideology.


First, let’s pull some takeaways from the chart…


1) There is a wide spectrum of ideologies …  Thomas is the most extreme … but Ginsburg and Sotomayer are almost as extreme … and there are 2 of them hanging out as far liberal.

2) Justices tend to become more liberal with tenure … Note the downward slopes for  Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsberg and Sotomayer.  Even Scalia (the discontinuous line close to Alito’s) mellowed to the center over time.

3) Kennedy has been ballyhooed as the “swing voter” … close to the political center … though tipping from slightly conservative to slightly liberal in recent years.

4) Chief Justice Roberts has trended more liberal recently … much to the disappointment of many  conservatives … and now rests very near the political center.

5) Kavanaugh’s projected score is roughly comparable to Gorsuch and Alito … less conservative than Thomas …  and less conservative than Ginsberg and Sotomayer are liberal.


So, what?

Roberts will take on a more pronounced role as a tie-breaker …. while he trend toward more liberal rulings may upset conservatives, it should relax hyper-ventilating Dems … especially since he’s now firmly planted in the political center.

Yes, Kavanaugh (replacing Kennedy) will move the court to the right … but, Kavanaugh’s not nearly as conservative as Thomas … and, many suspect that, once on the job, he’ll trend to less conservative positions (ala Roberts and Kennedy). Keep in mind that Kavanaugh clerked for Kennedy and idolizes him.

If Kavanaugh is torched, the likely fast-track replacement is Amy Coney Barrett … who is equally conservative as Kavanaugh overall … and probably more conservative than Kavanaugh on issues that seem to matter most o Dems.


My conclusion: Dems would be better off if they let Kavanaugh slide through now.


Because Kavanaugh has been wounded by the onslaught of damaging accusations … so, he’ll be gun-shy when any “women’s issues” hit the court.

Though they’ll try, Dems will have a tough time earth-scorching Barrett.  And, she would be a more dependable conservative vote on the court’s most sensitive issues.

The Dems are betting heavily on taking control of the Senate.

But, odds are still against that ,,, and the GOP will have lame-duck time to confirm Barrett.

With the Dems now going bare knuckles,  a lame duck confirmation would definitely be on the table.

Do Dems really want that?


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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