Ted Cruz says Mike Lee is ‘the single best choice’ to fill Supreme Court vacancy

In this 2018 file photo, Sen. Mike Lee speaks at a Utah public lands forum hosted by the Sutherland Institute, June 29, 2018, in Salt Lake City. | Photo by Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via The Associated Press, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — As President Donald Trump considers his next Supreme Court pick, some Republicans in Congress want him to consider pulling from their ranks on Capitol Hill.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas suggests his conservative ally, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, would be “the single best choice” Trump could make to fill the vacancy.

Read more: Mike Lee on Trump’s short list for replacing retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Republican Sen. Tim Scott is making a pitch for his best friend in Congress, Rep. Trey Gowdy, a fellow South Carolinian.

“I hope that the president will be open to that,” Scott said on CNN.

Nominating a lawmaker and seeing him or her confirmed would be unusual. A veteran of either the House or the Senate hasn’t joined the court for nearly 70 years. Only a couple dozen members of Congress also served on the court in its history.

But for now, only one lawmaker — Lee — is on the list of 25 names Trump is working from to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Cruz says unlike other Republican nominees who have proven to be liberal “train wrecks,” he’s confident Lee, among his favorite colleagues in the Senate, “would be faithful to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” Lee is also staunchly opposed to abortion.

But even though he is championed by conservatives as a strict constitutionalist, Lee could face obstacles to winning the president’s favor. Chief among them is that he never backed Trump for president during the 2016 campaign.

There have been no indications from the White House that Lee is among the handful of top names receiving serious consideration. The same goes for his brother, the Utah Supreme Court justice Thomas Lee, who was also on Trump’s initial list of possible court nominees.

Trump on Monday interviewed four prospective nominees for the court and said he expected to speak with a few more. The White House did not provide their names.

The president said the candidates he met with are “outstanding people and they are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and in every other way.”

Sen. Lee’s office would not say if he was among the candidates who met with the president.

Nevertheless, Lee, who started watching court proceedings on TV as a 10-year-old and went on to clerk for Justice Samuel A. Alito, has made clear he wouldn’t dismiss an overture to join the court.

If somebody asked me if I would consider that, I would not say no,” he said.

Trump plans to announce his nominee on July 9. The quick timetable could help Senate Republicans confirm a justice before the court’s term begins in October.

While Lee has been floated as a nominee for some time, the same cannot be said for Gowdy, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Scott, in making the case for Gowdy, said the former prosecutor is so fair that he has angered both Democrats and Republicans.

“A guy who will call balls and strikes and not choose a side, even when he’s an elected member at this time in our nation’s history, that’s hard to find,” Scott said.

Scott and Gowdy are close friends who have dinner together several nights a week. They also wrote a book about their friendship, “Unified,” that was released earlier this year.

Gowdy led the congressional investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack in Libya and more recently distanced himself from Trump’s characterization of the Russia probe into election interference as “spygate.”

Fellow lawmakers are rooting for their Capitol Hill colleagues. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told reporters last week he was personally hoping Trump chooses Lee. “He’d be great,” Rubio said.

Written by LISA MASCARO, Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Steve July 3, 2018 at 10:04 am

    What a pathetic sick joke these repukes truly are.

    • desertgirl July 3, 2018 at 10:28 am

      People like you are why the country is so divided. Big mouths, negative, and hateful of anyone who doesn’t agree with you 100%. Thanks for nothing, fool. Go back to your anti-fa nuts.

    • John July 3, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Steve, what a clueless leftist moron you are. Keep chasing that carrot ! hahahahahahahaha!

  • desertgirl July 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Would be absolutely amazed if Lee were appointed to the Supreme Court. Mainly due to the hatred, vitriol, bigotry toward Mormons. No, I am not Mormon; don’t discount anyone automatically because of their religion, race, gender. There definitely are intellectual, open-minded people of every faith who can put their biases aside. Usually find the haters are the ones who can’t see past their own biases; they think because they are lacking all other must be.

    • Bender July 3, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Yep, Tea Party zealots make the very best Supreme Court Justices. I’m just trying to remember what animated the Tea Party 8 years ago and elected this sniveling putz… something about money or no money or something. Oh yeah, I remember — the black man was blowing up our national debt! Of course now the Tea Party is really cool with huge deficits cause… uh I don’t know.

  • Brian July 3, 2018 at 10:43 am

    I don’t want a conservative or liberal SCOTUS pick, I want a Constitutionalist. Say what you want about Lee, but he is that, through and through.

    • jaybird July 3, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      It would be nice if ANY PERSON chosen would absolutely take consideration of precedent and the law, not allegiance to any party or outside vow.

      • Brian July 3, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        Frankly, I want a Constitutionalist that doesn’t look at precedent. That isn’t relying on the Constitution, it’s relying on someone else’s interpretation of the Constitution, and very often that precedent was set at a time when there was a partisan divide on SCOTUS, heavily in one direction or the other.

        I have complete confidence in the Constitution. It has been proven again and again for over 230 years and has led to the most prosperous people, from top to bottom, in the history of the world. No civilization has ever known greater opportunity than America, and that is completely due to the Constitution. I trust the original founders collective judgement far, far more than any individual or group today. So I’m all for SCOTUS sticking to the Constitution and original intent. Slavery and women’s right to vote are obvious exceptions to that, which were necessary due to the time the Constitution was written in, and both were rectified as society caught up.

  • Not_So_Much July 3, 2018 at 10:54 am

    If not this time, then the next one for sure.

    • RadRabbit July 3, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Maybe for when Trump replaces Ginsberg in a few months. I think Lee is a great choice but also Amy Barrett if not Lee both solid choices. But then again I keep reading Dems want to add Supreme Court Justices so they can tip the scales to the left, maybe Trump should just beat them at their own game and just add his top 5 to the court.

  • jaybird July 3, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Trump accused Ted Cruz’s father of killing JFK conspiracy and made disparaging remarks about his wife. Cruz still kisses his ring.

    • John July 3, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Hey jailturd, get a life loser!

      • Bender July 4, 2018 at 12:54 am

        Ouch John, witty burn.

        • John July 4, 2018 at 11:35 am

          You couldn’t bend a paper clip you limp wristed liberal loser!

    • Brian July 3, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      How is vocally supporting Lee kissing Trump’s ring? It’s the opposite, frankly. Cruz is supporting the most vocal Trump critic on that list of 25. That seems like the opposite of kissing his ring, doesn’t it?

  • PlanetU July 3, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    ha! ha! funny, not a chance….

  • utahdiablo July 3, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Senator Lee has a Snowballs Chance in Hell of being picked…Traitor Gowdy even less

    • John July 4, 2018 at 4:46 am

      You have to admit, it is quite entertaining to watch the left melt down over it…no matter who gets nominated they will have a mental breakdown. It must really be hard to be a liberal, always crying about imaginary monsters under the bed.

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