Liberals' new hope for SCOTUS swing vote: Brett Kavanaugh?

Kavanaugh, who prefers narrower rulings than some of his conservative colleagues, would find himself at the court’s ideological center if President Donald Trump succeeds in replacing Ginsburg with a staunch conservative. From there he could decide how far, and how quickly, it turns to the right on some of the country’s most divisive issues.

“Kavanaugh would by default become the most logical person to play the pivot role,” said Carter Phillips, a lawyer at Sidley Austin who has argued 79 Supreme Court cases.

That would mean to some degree supplanting Chief Justice John Roberts, who has held the balance of power for the past two years, largely backing conservative results but joining with the liberal wing to strike down an abortion regulation and preserve the DACA deferred-deportation program…

“Justice Kavanaugh is more committed to what you might call traditional judging — following precedent, deferring to the political branches, doing what Congress wanted to do even if it didn’t express itself perfectly,” Strauss said. “Justice Gorsuch is more inclined just to reject positions that he thinks are wrong.”