President Obama said Thursday that it's "inconceivable" that Senate Democrats will simply allow a Republican president and Republican Senate to appoint a Supreme Court judge next year, after the GOP has blocked Obama's nomination this year.

Obama was speaking at this alma matter, the University of Chicago law school, when he issued the warning about why Republicans should allow a hearing and a vote on his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Republicans have said they want the next president to make the nomination, not Obama.

"Let's say from their perspective, everything works out great, and their nominee, whoever that might be, wins, and takes over the White House," Obama said of the Republicans. "And they then make an appointment."

"The notion that Democrats would then say, 'oh, well, we'll just go along with that,' that is inconceivable," Obama said. "So now, the Democrats say, you know, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. We're blocking, we'll wait four more years to see how the next president comes in."

"At which point, what's mostly likely then is Mitch McConnell will then eliminate the filibuster possibility for Supreme Court justices, as it was eliminated for the other judicial appointments," Obama added. "And now, it's just a majoritarian exercise inside the Senate of, who controls the presidency, and who controls the Senate."

Obama used his remarks to stress that the the decision by Republicans to ignore his nominee means the partisan battles of the last several years could seep into the judicial branch. Specifically, he warned that failing to at least give Garland a hearing in the Senate would be a sign that partisan politics are already intruding into the judicial system, which could destroy Americans' faith in court rulings.

"If you start getting into a situation in which the process of approving a judge is so broken, so partisan, that an eminently qualified judge can't even get a hearing, then we are going to see the kinds of sharp, partisan polarization that have come to characterize our politics seeping into the judicial system," he told the student audience.

At that point, he said, the courts would become an extension of politics, and people would lose confidence in the ability of the courts to fairly adjudicate cases and controversies.

"Our democracy can't afford that. Our system is designed to make sure this branch works," he said.

Early into the discussion, Obama didn't mention his own role in the highly partisan nature of the recent battles over the Supreme Court and his decision in 2006 to try to filibuster Supreme Court Samuel Alito's nomination.

Obama has said he has come to regret that filibuster now that Republicans are threatening to block Garland, his nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

Obama did agree that it's not just Republicans who have made politics so much more divided. He noted that "there have been times" when Democrats also tried to filibuster Republican nominees.

But even then, he said there has "not been a circumstance" until today in which a GOP president's appointee didn't get a hearing or a vote.