Fake News: Justice Kavanaugh Would Hardly Change The Supreme Court At all

in fake-news •  6 months ago

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I don't understand the media narrative surrounding the appointment to Justice of Judge Kavanaugh. The narrative being, "this is going to transform the character of the Supreme Court to be dramatically more conservative!"

According to these estimates, Justice Kavanaugh would be expected to be almost exactly in the same partisan space that Justice Kennedy was.

That is, whereas Justice Thomas is around a score of 3, Gorsuch is 1, and Kennedy was 0.5, Kavanaugh is expected to be, like 0.75

In other words, this would move the average Justice score from around -0.33 to around -0.305.

(Note: negative scores are "liberal," so the Court's average is liberal. However, the median is more relevant, because votes are binary, not proportional to distance from center)

Median is expected to remain approximately the same, as Kennedy and Roberts were tied for it at 0.5, and now it's just Roberts there. So 0.5 is likely to remain the median.

This is a very moderate shift toward conservatism, except that almost every Justice leans left after appointment, which would put Kavanaugh very likely around the 0.5 score Kennedy held. Also, note that Kennedy had a score between 0.5 and 1 for most of his term as Justice, with a very brief liberal lean during Obama's second term.

In short, one of the conservative leaning "swing" voters is expected to swing "left" a little less often.

Kavanaugh is probably a godsend for Democrats who control neither the Senate nor the Presidency, and therefore have little leverage to prevent confirmation of a much more conservative appointee. This is just about as little as a Court can shift when its center Justice is replaced.

The headline claims the opposite of the data in their own report. I hate to say it, but... Fake News?



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