On abortion specifically, the Democratic position—warning that Kavanaugh could cast the vote that kills Roe v. Wade—would have solidly mainstream support. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released two weeks ago, 68 percent of women, 73 percent of Independents, and 74 percent of reproductive-age women said they don’t want Roe overturned. Kavanaugh did promise, during his 2006 federal Circuit Court confirmation hearing, that he “would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully,” but the current Republican-majority Court has already shown its willingness to overturn legal precedent—notably, in the campaign-finance ruling Citizens United, and last month, by nullifying decades of labor law when it ruled against public unions in Janus v. AFSCME.
One wild card is the far-flung Mueller investigation. Most polls show that the relentless Trump-GOP attacks have dampened public support for the special counsel, although his conduct is still viewed more favorably than Trump’s. But if Mueller releases a report on Trump-Russia connections and potential obstruction of justice, as many anticipate he may do in late summer or early autumn, Kavanaugh’s opinions about special-counsel probes could become stronger fodder for Democratic opposition.
It’s conceivable that the Mueller probe could wind up in the justices’ laps on some crucial point of law—and it’s Kavanaugh’s position that chief executives, while in office, should be exempt from all criminal and civil investigations.