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A new report suggests Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is being lobbied by key conservatives to say he’ll nominate Utah Sen. Mike Lee to the Supreme Court if elected president this November.
While Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, is stuck in limbo, conservatives are courting the presidential hopeful to put Lee on the highest court in the land if elected, according to The Washington Post.
The real estate mogul said he plans to unveil a list of 10 to 12 names he would consider for the Supreme Court.
“I’m going to announce that these are the judges, in no particular order, that I’m going to put up,” Trump told The Washington Post last week. “And I’m going to guarantee it … Because people are worried that, oh, maybe he’ll put the wrong judge in.”
Before being elected to the Senate, Lee, 44, clerked for Judge Samuel Alito while he was on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and later when he took his seat on the Supreme Court. Lee also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City and general counsel for then-Gov. Jon Huntsman.
The freshman senator is seen as dependably conservative, and many on the right still feel betrayed by the tenures of David Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens, and to a certain extent, John Roberts, particularly for his upholding the Affordable Care Act. Lee himself wrote an e-book in 2013 entitled, “Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare.”
James Hohmann, reporter for The Washington Post, asked more than a dozen senators for their thoughts about a potential Lee nomination.
“That’d be so fantastic,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. “We should be so lucky.”
“I’m a big fan of Mike,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
“He’s well prepared for it, and I think we could still take Utah,” said Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
“I’d want to make sure we could hold the seat in Utah,” said Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy. “I think we could, but I’d still have to check.”
Other establishment GOP senators were a little hesitant. “I like Mike,” said Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby. “He used to be a clerk over there. But that’s premature.”
Sen. John McCain said he would prefer his friend Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
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