The new justice’s approach to his first months on the high court is in marked contrast to President Donald Trump’s other appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The justices have done their best to project normalcy since Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The panel was especially lighthearted during his first day on the bench, as when Justice Sonia Sotomayor turned and pinched Gorsuch while posing a hypothetical about the term “violent felony” within the meaning of a federal sentencing law. Gorsuch reacted with good-natured surprise, eliciting laughter from the courtroom audience.
Kavanaugh himself has been an understated presence at oral arguments, clearly engaged but deferential to his colleagues. As a general matter, he has waited for the other justices to ask their questions before posing his own, and his inquiries have been largely confined to technical matters. He did, however, appear to break type in a Nov. 6 death penalty case, signaling concern that Missouri’s death penalty protocol could inflict “gruesome and brutal pain” on an elderly convict.
Kavanaugh was missed outside the Supreme Court following his investiture on Nov. 8, which drew Trump, among other dignitaries. Though the new junior justice traditionally appears in the marble plaza for pictures with the chief following the ceremony, the high court cancelled the photo opportunity in view of unspecified security concerns. – READ MORE