Kavanaugh’s feelings about the issue could prove consequential, because he now sits at the court’s center on many issues. He tends to exhibit more judicial moderation than the four other conservative associate justices. But he is typically less restrained than Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative known to be deferential to precedent and mindful of the court’s credibility with the public. (In Dobbs, for example, Roberts concurred with the other conservatives in upholding the Mississippi antiabortion law at the center of the case, but parted ways with the rest of the conservative bloc on the question of overturning Roe.)
So Kavanaugh’s stated opposition to abortion-related travel bans may mean that, with Roberts’s backing, the balance of power shifts in favor of striking down any such travel bans, legal experts said.
“If a state were to pass an interstate travel ban, I think there is definitely a majority to overturn that, now that Kavanaugh has made his reasoning crystal clear,” said Craig Collins, a lawyer who wrote a 2015 book arguing for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. That majority, he and other court observers said, would likely consist, at a minimum, of the three liberal justices, Roberts, and Kavanaugh.