Focus on the Future.
We know what the Supreme Court Justices have done in the past. But, the past is not always a good way to predict future actions.
Alito, up until this current abortion case, had been a relatively quiet presence on the bench. However, he was the deciding vote in several 5-4 decisions in the past. So, it’s clear that he does not worry about making waves.
The new justice (who, because of her appointment AFTER the case was argued, will not vote), has – at times – voted against the heavy hand of regulation in previous decisions. That is, what might be called, a starting point for moving HER Overton Window.
I think the more conservative justices might want to spend some time with her, and develop some friendly relations. If she could begin to think of them as decent people, and not ideological enemies, there is hope for the Supreme Court.
Similarly, one or more of the male justices needs to begin cultivating Kagan. I suspect that she is eager for a relationship that treats her as a special individual, and gives her a reason to look forward to starting her working day. Like having a ‘Big Brother’ on the court. One with whom she can share hobbies, brag about nieces and nephews, and perhaps occasionally attend a cultural event or ball game.
My guess is that Sotomayor is both self-absorbed, and kind of a Queen Bee. I don’t see her expending energy to make sure that Kagan’s ego is stroked. I would imagine Kagan wants what everyone wants – to feel noticed.
Isn’t the term ‘the deciding vote’ deceptive when used to describe an individual voter? I hear it all the time in political attack ads. In a decision decided by one vote, every voter who went with the winning side could be said to be the ‘decider.’ The only case recently when I think it could be properly used was when John McCain’s dramatic vote on Obamacare.