Empirical Analysis of What to Expect From Kavanaugh’s First Term on U.S. Supreme Court

Now that the very messy and nasty nomination process for US Supreme Court Justice for Brett Kavanaugh has ended, many observers are wondering what kind of judge he will be.

SCOTUSblog, the American blog devoted to all things relating to the United States Supreme Court, has published a statistics-based article on What to expect from Kavanaugh’s first term:

The tense waiting is now over as Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6, 2018. One of the big stories about Kavanaugh has been his low rate of public approval. This low rate of approval was apparent soon after Kavanaugh was nominated. Not only this, but as the figure below shows, Kavanaugh was confirmed by the smallest vote margin of any sitting justice (…)

This leads to an interesting question – whether this low rate of approval both from the public and from the Senate will affect Kavanaugh in his early career on the court. Although each justice has his or her own particular reactions to such things, indications can be gleaned from the different justices’ experiences. Justice Clarence Thomas, for instance, has been silent for the vast majority of oral arguments in which he participated. Could this have had to do with his confirmation process and the subsequent fallout? Should we then expect the same from Kavanaugh?

The article offers a statistical look at how the confirmation process for other Supreme Court nominees has affected their legitimacy in the eyes of their colleagues, what voting coalitions they joined, and how this evolved over time.

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