Former clerk for Justice Scalia: Next president could have opportunity to fill 4 Supreme Court seats

Next President's impact on the Supreme Court

The next president will have a big influence on the way the Supreme Court looks.

Thursday evening at Jacksonville University, a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia spoke about how the court could change.

She said the next president will have the most influence on the court since Richard Nixon.

Content Continues Below

Amy Barrett, professor of law at Notre Dame and former clerk for Justice Scalia, said the next president could have the opportunity to fill as many as four seats on the Supreme Court. Changes that could shift the foundation of our democracy.

“Everyone is focused on Justice Scalia’s seat because it’s currently empty, but the reality that the next president will probably have four seats to fill,” Barrett said.

Barrett said that along with Justice Scalia’s seat, the next president could nominate replacements for Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg and Breyer.

"You have this precious chance to shape history. Don't let it slip away … Remember I nominated what many considered to be the most qualified guy to ever sit on the Supreme Court. He has now waited longer than any other nominee of either party to just get a hearing,” President Barack Obama said in Jacksonville on Thursday.

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill Scalia's seat. Obama blames Senate Republicans for failing to move the nomination process forward.

Just a few hours before the president's appearance to support Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump spoke about gun rights at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

"We're gonna protect the Second Amendment which is under siege. ... I have the endorsement of the NRA ... great people," Trump said.

Whichever candidate prevails, Barrett said the court could be one of the longest lasting impacts of this election.

“When the Court interprets the Constitution, it tells voters some things are off limits and I think the way a justice is going to approach the Constitution matters greatly to that calculation,” Barrett said.

Most experts agree there has been a conservative majority on the Court for over 40 years. The outcome five days from now could change that for decades to come.