Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court means President Trump will soon make his second selection to the nation’s highest court — and at least two nominees he’s said to be considering will be familiar to Utahns.
President Trump told White House reporters on Wednesday that he will select Kennedy’s successor from a short list of 25 nominees his administration vetted before he selected Justice Neil Gorsuch last year.
On that list? Utah’s Republican Sen. Mike Lee and his brother, Thomas Lee, associate chief justice of the Utah State Supreme Court.
The two-term senator has expressed interest in the posting before. An attorney by trade, Lee once clerked for Justice Samuel Alito before President George W. Bush appointed him to the Supreme Court.
At the U.S. Capitol today, Lee gave a hallway interview to Congressional reporters about the possibility. “[I] would not say no,” he said of a Supreme Court appointment.
In rare hallway interview Sen Mike Lee says he “would not say no” if asked to consider serving on Supreme Court
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) June 27, 2018
Thomas Lee is another contender. He’s served on the Utah Supreme Court since 2010. Their father, Rex Lee, was the former Solicitor General of the United States during the Reagan administration.
Both Mike Lee and Utah’s senior Sen. Orrin Hatch are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will have a hand in confirming the next justice.
Any confirmation hearing will likely set up a battle with Democrats over the direction of the court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he intends to confirm a new justice by the fall.
The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on @POTUS @realDonaldTrump’s nominee to fill this vacancy. We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall.
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) June 27, 2018
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) June 27, 2018