Justice Gorsuchs first full term, which will include more than the usual number of blockbusters, will bring his jurisprudence into sharper focus.
At the same time, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is likely to decide closely divided cases as the member of the court at its ideological center, has been drifting left. According to data compiled by Lee Epstein, a law professor and political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, Justice Kennedys voting in the term in which Justice Scalia died, ending last year, was the most liberal of any justice in that decisive central position since the mid-1960s.
Justice Kennedy is 81, and he has signaled that he is considering retirement. Should President Trump name his replacement, the court would almost certainly gain a justice ideologically similar to Justice Gorsuch, leaving it with a solidly conservative majority and thrusting Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. into the median position.
The courts docket may be an embarrassment of riches, but it is also a work ...