So, of course, Fat Tony is tits up. I do feel bad for his family, death sucks on ice. I feel bad for Justice Ginsberg, who considered him a close personal friend, as, surprisingly, did Justice Kagan, who made more than some efforts to befriend him. Sympathy, to all of them, and I am being quite serious.
Given the makeup of the Senate, confirmation of anyone who is not David Barton will be difficult. We may well looking at an extended 4 (left/center left - Notorious RBG, Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Breyer) to 4 (monsters - The Silent Man, Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, and... oh, wait...)
The makeup of the Court has been long referred to as 4 to 4 with a Kennedy swing vote, I'm not pulling this out of any available orifice.
Four left/center left and three serious brownshirts. And Anthony Kennedy.
Anthony Kennedy. Confirmed during a presidential election year, by the way, so Ted Cruz, lil' Marco Rubio, et alia can choke on this convenient box of hammers.
(Surprisingly, not near the top of google images, apparently there is some tweeny looking film called Bag of Hammers.)
His personal politics have to be at least mainstream rightie, likely an economic hard-rightie, but he doesn't rule by his political beliefs. Instead of political beliefs, he makes his rulings based on the political environment, and relishes the role of swing vote, as the bargained chip, as an elder windsock.
I submit that in order for him to maintain that role, he may go with the left side of the court surprisingly often, in an attempt to be An Hero, in an attempt to burnish his legacy as the Decider. We may see a lot of 5 to 3 rulings, and if President Obama can push though another center left appointee (I have no hope that he will nominate a true liberal, we're likely to end up with a Wall Street hack like Lynch or Srinivasan, who, while they at least may be reasonable on cultural issues, will happily continue the cudgelling of the working class), I would not be horribly shacked to see frequent 6 to 3 rulings.
I don't know, just a thought.