SCOTUS Odds: Who’ll Trump Tap as Scalia’s Replacement?

The election of Donald Trump has flipped the table on the odds for the next Supreme Court Justice. Merrick Garland, who was nominated by Barack Obama, was poised to become the next justice to fill the opening left by the death of Antonin Scalia. Now, the next justice is likely to be someone who will pull the Supreme Court in a more conservative direction, much like Scalia did.

Donald Trump has been vague on what he wants from the next justice but he has stated one requirement: they must favor repealing Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision on the issue of abortion.

As early as January of this year, Donald Trump had already name-dropped two possible candidates: Diane Sykes and William H. Pryor.

Sykes is a Seventh Circuit judge and former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice. She’s a solid conservative and vocally pro-gun, having praised the outcome of Ezell v. Chicago, which prevented Chicago from banning firing ranges in the city.

William H. Pryor is an Eleventh Circuit judge and former Attorney General of Alabama. He’s also a solid conservative and an ardent opponent of Roe v. Wade, calling it the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He’s popular among social conservatives but his nomination is likely to come under fierce opposition by the Democrats, who filibustered his nomination to the Eleventh Circuit and will likely do so again for the Supreme Court.

Another name floating around is Joan Larsen, a Michigan Supreme Court justice and law professor who clerked for the late Scalia.

And then there’s still Merrick Garland. Obama’s nominee is an extremely qualified moderate who is well-liked by Democrats and Republicans, alike. However, he is somewhat of a compromise. He’s neither liberal nor conservative enough for either party’s liking. With the Republicans set to take control over the House, Senate, and Presidency, they won’t need to compromise all that much.


Odds to become the next US Supreme Court justice:

Diane Sykes: 4/1

Joan Larsen: 89/11

William H. Pryor: 23/2

Don Willett: 19/1

Merrick Garland: 99/1

Barack Obama: 1000/1


Photo credit: “The United States Supreme Court 2012” by DonkeyHotey (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].