The U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, after an acrimonious fight over claims he committed sexual assault, lied about his drinking habits as a young adult and demonstrated unfit temperament in a partisan tirade directed at his opponents, marks a crowning achievement by conservatives to cement a solid 5-4 majority.

Kavanaugh’s elevation to the high court will fuel fears that the staunchly conservative judge will erode the landmark rulings on abortion, affirmative action, gay rights and the death penalty that were written by his more moderate predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., more conservative than Kennedy, now becomes the new center of the court.