Two Utahns make Trump’s short list for Supreme Court

Jun 28, 2018, 3:22 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As Democrats and Republicans gear up for a battle over the future of the Supreme Court, Governor Gary Herbert says it’s an honor to have two Utahns on the short list to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

“I think that’s pretty remarkable,” Herbert said. “It’s nice to have two of our favorite sons at the top of our short list,”

The list of 25 potential nominees being considered by President Donald Trump includes Utah’s junior U.S. Senator Mike Lee and his brother, Thomas Lee, who is a justice on the Utah Supreme Court.

I think that’s pretty remarkable,” said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert about having two Utah residents on the Supreme Court short list.

“I’m sure he’s got good people to choose from,” Herbert said of Trump’s list. “Certainly the two from Utah are at the top of the list in my mind.”

If Sen. Lee is the nominee and is confirmed, it would fall upon Herbert to select a replacement to serve until next general election 2020. When asked by KSL, Herbert said he “probably would not” appoint himself as Lee’s replacement in the Senate.

On FOX News, Lee said on Thursday that he’s been studying the high court since he was 10 years old and that he agrees with Trump on most things when it comes to the Supreme Court.

“I’m honored even to be considered for something like this,” Lee said. “Ultimately this is the president’s choice and I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.”

President Trump said Wednesday that the process to replace Justice Kennedy would start immediately.

“We have to pick a great one,” Trump told the crowd in Fargo, North Dakota. “We have to pick one that’s going to be there for 40, 45 years. We need intellect. We need so many things.”

U.S. Senator Mike Lee from Utah is on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

Democrats are arguing that a confirmation hearing for Kennedy’s replacement should wait until after the midterm elections, citing how in 2016, Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland because of the upcoming presidential election.

“If Republicans were consistent, they would wait to consider Justice Kennedy’s successor until after the midterm elections,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-Minority Leader. “Why should a midterm election be any less important than a presidential election?”

Senator Orrin Hatch responded to that argument.

“Well this is quite a big difference,” Hatch said. “That was a presidential election. This is with plenty of time to go and, yeah, I think we can do that.”

If Senator Lee ends up the nominee he says he can vote for himself—to preserve the GOP’s thin majority in the Senate. The process could move quickly, Kennedy announced he would be stepping down at the end of July.

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Two Utahns make Trump’s short list for Supreme Court