On June 27, 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy sent a letter to President Donald Trump announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). As one of nine justices, he was considered to be an important swing vote. Consider: there are four “liberal” justices (Sotomayor, Ginsberg, Kagan and Breyer), and four “conservative” justices (Gorsuch, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts). With four votes on each side of the political spectrum (with some exceptions, of course), Kennedy held some power with his swing vote. The balance is soon to shift with Kennedy’s retirement, however.
Enter Bret Kavanaugh, 53, nominated by President Trump on July 9, and a former clerk for Kennedy. Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination will, ostensibly, slide SCOTUS to a “conservative” bent. He’ll be coming from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he served for 10 years. (The D.C. Court of Appeals is often looked to for SCOTUS nominees.) Kavanaugh’s mother was a public school teacher in the D.C. area but who eventually became a prosecutor. In Mr. Kavanaugh’s acceptance speech for the nomination at the White House, he announced that his mother was his first introduction to the law, and he learned most of his knowledge from her.
Kavanaugh grew up in Washington, D.C. and is believed to be wield a “conservative” judicial philosophy, having ruled on cases by citing to the importance of textualism and originalism in a similar manner as Scalia. The nomination now goes to the Senate for confirmation, which is slated for sometime in the fall.
Here’s a nice summary of how Kavanaugh ruled on cases in his time on bench. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/09/brett-kavanaugh-track-record-675294