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With Kavanaugh Addition, Supreme Court Marks New Conservative Era

The Supreme Court replaced a conservative justice with another conservative justice.
Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 08, 2018

The addition of a Justice Brett Kavanaugh solidifies the most conservative Supreme Court in decades. Nearly a dozen cases await the high court's new lineup this month alone. Now, don't expect any marquee cases like we've seen in recent years. That may have been done on purpose, as the court awaited confirmation of its newest justice. But we can still expect to see some impactful decisions.

Kavanaugh's comments during his confirmation hearings may immediately be put to the test, first with presidential power. The Trump administration asked the court to shield top executive branch officials from depositions in early October, before Kavanaugh was confirmed. But it has the chance to do so again this week.

The justices will also have to decide a double jeopardy case that could have a real impact on the president. Right now, federal and state governments cannot convict and sentence a person for the same crime. The court will have to decide whether each should be able to.

Many of the president's associates are being charged and tried in federal court only. Based on the court's decision, state-level courts could go after these associates, too.

Justice Kavanaugh spent much of his confirmation hearings saying he respects Supreme Court precedent. The court will have to decide whether to overrule a 1979 decision, Nevada v. Hall, which allowed a state to be sued in another state's court system. The petitioners of the case say the Supreme Court case nearly 40 years ago was wrongly decided.

There will be one immigration case that could impact thousands of undocumented immigrants. The nine justices will decide if a non-citizen released from criminal custody is exempt from mandatory detention if the Department of Homeland Security does not immediately take them into custody. If last year's decisions were any indication, the Supreme Court is headed for some deeply conservative decisions.

Then newly minted Justice Neil Gorsuch decided some of the most controversial cases, including taking power away from unions and enforcing the president's travel ban.

A Justice Kavanaugh, largely cut from the same cloth, could serve as more of a rubber stamp for conservatives than his predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Decisions for these cases won't come out for months, and only then will we have a better idea of what direction this court is really heading in.