CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Ed Dawson is a law professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale who served as a court clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for a year in 2004. From his time there, he says he became familiar with the importance of the former Justice's seat as a swing vote.
"He was the most important vote just because there were four justices to the right of him and four justices to the right of him. At least on most issues," he said.
He said he looks at President Trump's top four picks to fill the seat and sees a lot of the same as far as their political beliefs.
"Each of them has their own background, and there's different things you can say about them," he said. "But they all fit a pretty similar mold I would say."
Because all of Trump's candidates have conservative records, Dawson believes there is a good chance future policy will be more right-winged.
"Unless there's a big surprise.said Dawson. "Whoever replaces him will probably be a conservative vote on all the issues. In a similar way that Justice Gorsuch has been since he joined the court recently."
Liberal protesters have wasted no time in voicing their concerns on how a conservative justice could affect laws related to a number of decisions Justice Kennedy played an important role in; like gay rights and women's rights.
However, Dawson reminds us that the Supreme Court doesn't make decisions based purely on politics, but the decisions made in the past.
"I think that if Justice Kennedy is replaced by a more conservative justice," he said, "it doesn't mean the Court is just going to overturn the things the Court has done in the period that Justice Kennedy was on the court."