“What I’m hearing is that he is at least considering it, and that it is a very real possibility,” Lee told Fox News Radio on Tuesday when asked about Kennedy’s future on the bench. “What I’ve also heard is that having been appointed by President Reagan in the late 1980s, he considers himself a Republican, and with all things being equal, would prefer to be replaced by a Republican president.”
Lee said he has “no conclusive evidence one way or another” as to whether the justice will retire, but noted any announcement of a retirement would likely occur between now and July 1st or 2nd.
“There is a lot of chatter suggesting that Justice Kennedy might be preparing for retirement as soon as this year,” the Utah senator said.
“I think it should be something we jump right on to and something we certainly should complete before we get into the election cycle, before we near the November election,” he said. “Nobody knows that’s going to happen in that election, and if President Trump ends up having a chance to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, we need to get that nominee confirmed.”