After 20 years in office, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018. He was voted into office in 1988 in a vote that showed bipartisan support.
The justice that was appointed by President Trump to replace him, Brett Kavanaugh, couldn’t muster such support levels, according to data compiled by the Washington Post
and the New York Times
, as well as Politico.
Kavanaugh got just enough votes (50) necessary for confirmation. 49 of these votes came from Republicans and one vote from a Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Kavanaugh's conformation was highly controversial after three women came forward and accused the then circuit judge of sexual misconduct.
While Kennedy was a moderate providing a swing vote between liberal and conservative positions on the court, Kavanaugh is a stout supporter of traditionalist values. Former U.S.
President Obama also appointed two justices to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, which resulted in a relatively balanced Supreme Court of four liberal, four conservative and one swing justice, Anthony Kennedy. When justice Scalia died in 2016, Obama would have technically had the change to appoint another judge but did not have a majority in the Senate to confirm one single-handedly while the Republicans announced they would not support any of Obama's candidates. After the election of President Donald Trump, Neil Gorusch was confirmed with a one vote Republican majority. After Kennedy's resignation, Kavanaugh was elected with the help of one Democratic vote.