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From one perspective, he’s growing a new center on the courtroom with the Chief Justice. Kavanaugh voted with Roberts more often than another justice, sticking with the chief 94% of the time, according to Feldman. These two justices voted with the majority the best share of the time this term, cementing the court docket’s new conservative middle.

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Those who know both Kavanaugh and Roberts aren’t shocked by this rising judicial partnership. Kavanaugh often sent law clerks to Roberts, and the two judges are temperamentally, philosophically and stylistically comparable, associates and former clerks say. Kavanaugh may be more academic in his jurisprudential strategy, while Roberts tends to be more practical— Kavanaugh has said he’s an originalist, while Roberts doesn’t establish as one. But neither is doctrinaire like the late Justice Antonin Scalia was, philosophically adrift like Kennedy or incrementalist like former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Kavanaugh’s first time period on the courtroom presents a extra complicated image of the type of justice Kavanaugh may turn into.

There have been eight conventional 5-4 splits this time period, with the five conservatives voting as a bloc. But there were as many 5-four choices with all of the liberals plus one conservative in the majority this time period as there were circumstances with all of the conservatives voting over the liberal wing. Leo and his allies predict that Kavanaugh will evolve to be more like Alito, who’s ideologically to the best of Roberts, much less keen to compromise or inclined toward consensus.

Whatever they considered Kavanaugh or his efficiency on the hearings, the justices knew what his arrival meant for the steadiness of power on the Court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the first to return by his chambers. “The nine of us are actually a family and we’re a family with each of us our own burdens and our own obligations to others, however that is our work household, and it’s just as essential as our personal household,” Sotomayor advised CNN last November. “She clearly made a point” of being the primary to reach out, says one of Kavanaugh’s former clerks.

Few suspect that Kavanaugh will take a 3rd route, to the left of Roberts. But his occasional alliance with Breyer and Kagan recommend that he may be more average than many anticipate. What is evident is that the courtroom continues to be adjusting to its new configuration, with some stunning outcomes.

Outside the court, Kavanaugh’s pals and colleagues are speaking, on-the-document and on background, in hopes of shaping perception on his behalf. “I don’t know if he’ll ever fully get over the confirmation course of,” says one friend.

According to Feldman, Kavanaugh sided with Alito 91% of the time in his first-time period. In a fractured decision on the courtroom’s most political case of the term, about whether or not the Trump Administration can add a citizenship question to the Census, Kavanaugh, Alito and the opposite conservatives split from Roberts and the liberal wing.

Not even those closest to him understand how his work as a justice might be affected. Kavanaugh, who has vociferously denied Blasey Ford’s allegations, hasn’t given an on-the-report interview since the hearings, and declined to do so for this story.