President Donald Trump just moved to fill the swing vote left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement with a reliable conservative, Brett Kavanaugh.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh could swing the court further to the right, especially in the areas where Kennedy provided key votes, like expanding gay rights, limiting the scope of the death penalty, and upholding environmental regulations.
A devout Catholic, Kavanaugh's record shows a tendency to preserve religious freedoms over other Constitutional issues. Trump’s campaign promise to only nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade has drawn considerable attention to Kavanaugh’s past rulings on abortion-related matters. Most recently, Kavanaugh agreed that the Trump administration shouldn't have to immediately facilitate the abortion of an undocumented teenager in federal custody.
Although Kavanaugh hasn’t directly ruled on all the key issues where Kennedy served as a swing vote, the nominee’s conservative streak could indicate how he would vote as a justice.
Isabella McKinley Corbo contributed to this report.
Cover image: President Donald Trump shakes hands with Judge Brett Kavanaugh his Supreme Court nominee, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)