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Analysis: Trump's justices give him a boost but Supreme Court's balance holds

Greg Stohr, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were on board for a trio of rulings that bolstered religious rights. Joining the other conservatives, they were part of a 5-4 decision that upheld Trump administration rules giving employers a broad right to refuse to offer birth control through their health plans.

The same group boosted school vouchers by saying states must include religious schools in programs that offer taxpayer subsidies for private education. And Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were in the majority in a 7-2 decision that shielded sectarian schools from discrimination suits by teachers whose jobs include teaching religion.

They both said Congress violated the Constitution when it tried to insulate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director from being fired by the president. A splintered court eliminated the provision that shielded the director.

Each was on board when the court voted 5-4 to back Republicans and impose a deadline for mailing absentee ballots in Wisconsin's presidential primary. Likewise, they were part of a 5-4 majority to block a lower court order that would have made it easier for some people to cast ballots in Alabama.

They were in a 5-4 majority that cleared the Trump administration to start enforcing a new test to screen out green-card applicants seen as being at risk of becoming dependent on government benefits.

And both suggested they were eager to take up a Second Amendment case, even if some of their colleagues weren't. Gorsuch dissented when the court dropped a clash over New York City handgun-transportation restrictions after the city changed its law. Kavanaugh said the justices should have heard a challenge to a New Jersey law that sharply restricts who can get a permit to carry a handgun.

 

"The Trump administration has succeeded in stacking the federal judiciary with many very conservative judges," Metzger said. "I think that holds overall true for Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, who have been solid conservative votes on many central issues."

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