No matter how the fast-breaking developments surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation unfold, it is sinking in among Supreme Court advocates and scholars that a new term will almost certainly begin on Oct. 1 with eight justices, not nine, on the bench.

“There is probably no way that anyone will be occupying Justice Kennedy’s seat on the first Monday in October,” said John Yoo, professor at UC Berkeley School of Law, a former general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas.

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