The liberal freak-out always proves to be a false panic about Christian theocracy, just as much as the cultural conservative gloat-fest always proves to be a false hope for the same.
The primary goal of the Reagan coalition has been to undo the New Deal / Great Society regulations on business, as well as that era's checks on institutions of armed authority. This reflects the interests of the sectors that control the GOP -- material ones like energy, agriculture, and law enforcement -- whose interests were sacrificed during the New Deal era in favor of workers, blacks, and the accused. They have used their status as the dominant coalition to carry out this agenda in the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches, all of which they rapidly captured in the 1980s.
The sectors that formed the dominant coalition of the New Deal era -- finance and the military -- were not weakened by strengthening labor unions or giving more civic participation to blacks. Checks on military authority would have harmed a key member of their coalition, so the government in all three branches tended to shy away from constraining the military, provided that sector wielded authority primarily in foreign affairs. That allowed the non-military members of the coalition to crack down on domestic armed authorities like the police, who were more Republican-leaning (especially with Nixon's focus on law-and-order).
On social and cultural issues, the Democrat coalition of the New Deal / Great Society was moderate to conservative, reflecting both the mixture of sectors in their coalition -- liberal financiers, but conservative military leaders -- as well as their electoral base of the working class, who are more conservative on such issues than the socially permissive elites. That applied to Supreme Court decisions as well as executive and legislative measures taken to censor profanity, gore, pornography, etc., from popular culture during the Midcentury.
With the dismantling of the populist New Deal by the neoliberal Reagan revolution, the Republican-led government has pushed liberal causes in the social and cultural domains -- flag burning, abortion, pornography, sodomy, gay marriage, and so on. I'm leaving out a detailed survey of the cases themselves, which I may take up in another post, and looking at the sociological big picture here.
Advocating for free market fundamentalism leaves nothing sacred, nothing out-of-bounds, and shifting toward an electoral base of upwardly mobile aspiring elites means assuring them that their liberal priorities on social issues will remain safe. Social conservatism is for those proles who vote Democrat, not for yuppies who vote Republican.
Occasionally the GOP legislature does try to throw some breadcrumbs to the social conservatives in its base, but that's where the Reaganite Supreme Court steps in to remind everyone that the main priorities are deregulating the material sectors of the economy, including law enforcement, and doing whatever it takes to help Republicans win elections when their goals are so deeply unpopular. All that those socially conservative breadcrumbs would do is alienate yuppie swing voters, who are a crucial bloc of the party's slim electoral base.
This function of the Court will remain so even with the appointments by Trump, whose list came straight from the Federalist Society -- a gatekeeper for career-climbing Republican lawyers, founded at the dawn of the Reagan revolution in 1982.
At the same time, as a disjunctive, end-of-an-era president, Trump may end up appointing someone who will switch sides under the upcoming populist re-alignment, after the Bernie revolution dethrones the Reaganites. That would be akin to the disjunctive Hoover, at the end of the pro-business Republican era of the early 20th C, appointing Owen Roberts in 1930. He began pro-business, but after several years of the Supreme Court striking down New Deal legislation, he decided to join the pro-New Deal side in 1937, to prevent FDR from packing the court instead to get his programs upheld. That was "the switch in time that saved nine".
Roberts only received the nomination because Hoover's first pick, John Parker, was rejected by the GOP Senate for his anti-union views (upholding "yellow-dog contracts," whereby workers agree not to join a union as a condition of getting hired). Not a good look in the middle of the Great Depression.
It's still possible that Trump will get another pick, choose a deregulatory business cuck in the middle of the imminent deep recession, and the Senate will be spooked enough to reject him and require someone with a populist streak. (Roberts was famous for investigating the Teapot Dome scandal of the GOP Harding administration.) That will be especially true if one of the liberals, Ginsburg or Breyer, kicks the bucket or retires. Trump and the GOP Senate may be forced to replace a Clinton appointment with someone who splits the difference -- socially and culturally conservative, but pro-labor and pro-regulation.
When Kennedy retired, I argued for making populism, rather than social liberalism, the basis of opposition to whichever Federalist Society guy Trump ended up selecting.
Of course, it's also possible that the upcoming re-alignment will be more like the Civil War than the New Deal, given the soaring levels of partisan polarization (like the Civil War, unlike the New Deal). That might lead the Bernie revolution to re-shape the Court by re-jiggering the circuit boundaries, and adding or subtracting justices, just as the Lincoln coalition did to dethrone the Jacksonian Democrats:
Between 1862 and 1869, Congress thus re-arranged the federal circuits to curb southern influence, added a tenth Justice to uphold Union war policies, and reduced the size of the Court to thwart an antagonistic president. Taken together, these measures constituted a mostly partisan attempt to shape the structure and personnel of the Supreme Court: the first Court-packing plan.