Here’s why Utah Sen. Mike Lee should be nominated by Pres. Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice:
Lee is a bonafide conservative intellectual. He views essentially every political issue from a conservative constitutional perspective. His temperament and personality are actually more compatible with a judicial role than a legislative role. The rough-and-tumble of legislative politics doesn’t suit him as well as a quiet, but more powerful, role as a Supreme Court justice.
He is young enough to extend Trump’s conservative Supreme Court legacy for many decades. With Neil Gorsuch and Lee, Trump would have powerfully stamped the Supreme Court long into the future.
Lee would have the best chance of being confirmed. It’s going to be a vicious, bloody battle no matter who Trump nominates. This is the worst nightmare possible for Democrats and the entire leftist, liberal establishment. The Supreme Court has already tilted right, giving conservatives many victories in recent decisions. Democrats and liberals will fight like inebriated banshees to prevent another conservative from being confirmed. As a sitting U.S. senator who is generally liked by his colleagues, Lee would have the best chance of getting confirmed. He’s the only member of Congress on Trump’s “list of 25.” Everyone else on the list is either a state supreme court judge or a federal district court or appeals judge.
It would be really fun for Utah. We’d have a Utahn on the Supreme Court. But more than that, it would give Gov. Gary Herbert an appointment to the U.S. Senate, and set off a lot of machinations by hopefuls. Herbert could appoint any number of people, including a business person, a member of the U.S. House, a member of the Legislature – or himself (I guess?). There could be a big ripple effect, depending on who’s appointed.
I have no idea if Lee would actually make the short list, but it would certainly make sense to me. This is obviously an enormous appointment. In some ways, the future direction of the country is riding on it. For the Democrats, this is almost cataclysmic. Trump must appoint someone who can be confirmed.
Two final observations:
Elections really do have consequences. If Trump accomplishes nothing more in four years than appointing two conservative justices, it will be a big victory for conservatives. Democrats have to be apoplectic over Hillary Clinton’s monumental loss. And the geekish Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should be a conservative super-hero for hanging tough against Pres. Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.
Finally, if Lee is actually nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, it would be rather ironic, given Sen. Orrin Hatch’s career-long interest in being appointed. Hatch came close a few times, but it never quite worked out. Hatch, of course, has had a long and distinguished career. But he must still be thinking what might have been . . .