Stories by Andrew Witherspoon

Where Brett Kavanaugh sits on the ideological spectrum

Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, would have the second most conservative score (0.693) on the bench if confirmed, next to Justice Clarence Thomas (0.725), per a measure that scores judges on a liberal-conservative spectrum.

Current justices: Epstein, Martin, and Quinn, 2017 "President-Elect Trump and his Possible Justices", Kavanaugh's score: Epstein, Martin, and Quinn, 2016 "Possible Presidents and their Possible Justices"; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Harry Stevens/Axios

Why it matters: Kennedy often sided with the liberal wing of the court, so with this choice, Trump is cementing a solid conservative majority on the bench.

By the numbers: Trump's Supreme Court shortlist is very conservative

President Trump's list of nominees to replace outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court skews decisively conservative, per a measure that scores judges on a liberal-conservative spectrum.

Why it matters: Chances are that whomever Trump appoints will be solidly conservative, tipping the balance of the court.

Data: Epstein, Martin, and Quinn, 2016; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon and Harry Stevens/Axios

How Trump is reshaping the courts

Data: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; Note: includes only federal appellate and district courts; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump has already appointed a record-breaking number of federal judges, but his judicial legacy is even bigger than that: More than half of those judges replaced Democratic appointees.

Why it matters: Some of our most contentious political debates are ultimately settled in the courts. If Trump can keep replacing liberal judges with conservatives, he’d be giving conservatives an upper hand that would last for decades.