Yes, there still a solid conservative majority on the Supreme Court, but that doesn’t mean they’ll always give you what you want. That’s how liberals think. Today was another reminder that at times, justices don’t go the way you want. For the pro-life movement, they learned that when Justice Brett Kavanaugh decided to side with the liberal members of the court and refuse to hear arguments concerning states being allowed to defund Planned Parenthood in Medicaid programs. Kavanaugh sided with Chief Justice Robert and the liberal wing of the court. It only takes four justices to allow for arguments—and Justice Clarence Thomas was not happy that his colleagues decided to pass on this subject. He’s been equally huffy concerning the court’s refusal to hear any ore pro-Second Amendment lawsuits (via Washington Examiner):
In an early decision involving abortion, newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with liberals in declining to hear a case that could have allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood in state Medicaid programs.
My colleague Kimberly Leonard has more background and details of the cases, but the basic gist is that lower court rulings prevented Louisiana and Kansas from blocking abortion provider Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid. The Supreme Court has now decided to pass on the cases.
Three conservative justices -- Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch -- all voted to hear the case.
Supreme Court watchers are hanging on every sign from Kavanaugh and Roberts as to how they may rule on abortion given the new makeup of the bench. While it's difficult to assess what implications this particular decision says about their thinking on the issue, the decision not to hear these cases is at least noteworthy, as it suggests a certain level of caution on taking on contentious cases involving abortion in any way.
A solid conservative majority has been something I wanted to see since high school. It’s here—and if Trump is re-elected in 2020, it could expand and be cemented further. Yet, this isn’t like the Senate. SCOTUS doesn’t drive policy; at least it shouldn’t, though some circuit court rulings (*cough* ninth circuit *cough*) have certainly taken that odious legal path. I don’t think this is a sign that Kavanaugh is going lefty or soft, but it does show liberals that maybe they should have just shut the hell up about how this man was the harbinger of death to women’s rights. No one who is serious thought that. And hey, he’s living up to how he would act isn’t he: being totally independent. SCOTUS can surprise you, in good times and bad, and maybe another bite of the apple on this issue will come around later. For now, this case is dead, though it should be resurrected. Maybe a push by congressional Republicans can put this back on the docket because you know it will be challenged by liberals. That is if the GOP can retake the House in 2020.