Because Democrats set the agenda for most media, the immediate talking point was that abortion rights are threatened with another GOP pick. While that is unlikely, given the Supremes’ traditional respect for precedent, the larger fact is that there is much more at stake than any single issue.
Consider that the travel-ban case upheld broad presidential authority on national security, and the union ruling was among several supporting First Amendment rights of individuals against government infringement.
Rulings like these have long-term cultural and political impacts and explain why Supreme Court appointments can have an outsized influence on a president’s legacy.
Already Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first pick, is enormously popular with those who believe a justice’s job is to make sure laws pass constitutional muster, not legislate from the bench. A second pick in the Gorsuch mold would secure a majority on the court for curbing government’s appetite for more domestic power, perhaps for decades.