Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said President Trump should nominate Sen. Mike Lee to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the Utah Republican is “a sure thing” and “battle-tested, ready, and willing to serve.”
Cruz, who is running for re-election, wrote in an Fox News op-ed that Mr. Lee has the qualities needed for the job, said he won’t “bend his principles” and said he is in the mold of Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“No other candidate has his combination of record, ability, and a sure-fire path to confirmation — and no other candidate would excite conservative voters this November more than someone they know and trust, like Mike Lee,” Mr. Cruz wrote. “Moreover, Senator Lee safeguards President Trump’s Supreme Court legacy for all-time, because there is not a single soul out there who can doubt that a Justice Mike Lee would remain true to the convictions he has fought for his entire life.”
President Trump has interviewed Mr. Lee as he sorts out his top pick for the job.
Mr. Lee is beloved by conservatives. He won his seat in Utah after defeating incumbent GOP Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010.
Senator Cruz highlighted Mr. Lee’s service as a clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito and as a federal prosecutor.
While liberal advocacy groups and others are gearing up for a major confirmation fight, Trump is charging ahead with an imminent decision to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, and potentially move the court more solidly to the right.
Trump has interviewed six candidates: Appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, Amul Thapar, Joan Larsen and Thomas Hardiman. The interviews comprised seven conversations – Trump talked to one candidate twice.
Multiple sources indicated Kavanaugh, Kethledge and Barrett are currently the focus of attention.
The president also had an additional phone call with Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, though reports say the call was not a formal interview and more to ask Lee his thoughts on who would make a good nominee.
Democrat-aligned groups are pressuring potential swing senators – especially leftist Republicans like Alaska’s bobble-headed Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins – to oppose Trump’s eventual nominee, arguing in part that landmark decisions like abortion-legalizing Roe v. Wade could be at risk.
Conservative groups, meanwhile, have sought to sway the president’s decision-making – including a whisper campaign against Kavanaugh over everything from his ties to the George W. Bush administration to a past ObamaCare ruling. While some critics have claimed that 2011 case helped pave the way for the law’s individual mandate to be upheld by the Supreme Court, others say the criticism is unfounded – and Kavanaugh actually spoke out against the mandate.
Kavanaugh remains very much in the running, however, while Kethledge’s stock is said to be rising.
Some conservatives have pointed to Kethledge as a potential justice in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee last year. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh. Kethledge, a Michigan Law graduate, would add academic diversity to a court steeped in the Ivy League.
As Trump prepares to name the second high court pick of his presidency, speculation also has focused on Barrett, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 5th, 2018