According to Bloomberg, President Trump has asked advisers how they feel about nominating Utah Senator Mike Lee, 47, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
Bloomberg quoted “three people familiar with the matter,” adding that two of the people said Trump hasn’t chosen a favorite among those possibilities on his list of 25 people he might choose for the Supreme Court. One person noted that Trump thinks Lee would be easily confirmed by the Senate, but is concerned that if he chooses Lee, the slim majority the GOP holds in the Senate might be endangered.
That would seem unlikely, since Lee’s home state of Utah is as conservative as any state in the nation. But Trump said the same thing was said about him picking Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General; Sessions was replaced by Democrat Doug Jones. Of course, that race featured the candidacy of Judge Roy Moore, which was damaged by claims of him sexually harassing women
As Bloomberg notes, “Lee has publicly denounced the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling, which could complicate his confirmation. Many of the other potential nominees, most of whom are judges, haven’t taken as clear a position on reversing the precedent.”
Lee voted for fellow Utahan Evan McMullin for president; he had been upset at the Republican National Convention when it appeared the RNC committee was attempting to break the RNC’s own rules and steamroll dissent. Lee, whose knowledge of the Constitution is scholarly, said at the time, “I have never in all my life, certainly going on six years in the United States Senate, prior to that as a lifelong Republican, never seen anything like this.”
Among the several books Lee has written: Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document.
But Trump and Lee have mended fences in the last two years; Lee has supported virtually all of Trump’s priorities. On Thursday, Lee told Fox News, “I have a good relationship with the president. He and I don’t see eye to eye on every issue. He and I see eye to eye on most things when it comes to the Supreme Court of the United States.” He added, “I’m someone who’s been watching the Supreme Court since I was 10 years old. I’m honored to even be considered for something like this.”
With the GOP holding a slim majority, it’s important to note that some GOP senators have already said they would support a Lee nomination, including Jeff Flake, Ted Cruz, John Kennedy and fellow Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.
The problem would likely stem from GOP senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both abortion rights supporters. Bloomberg reported, “Murkowski simply said ‘hmm’ when asked about a possible Lee nomination Wednesday.”