Scott G Winterton, KSL

Sen. Mike Lee, brother Thomas Lee still on Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominee list

By Dennis Romboy, KSL | Posted - Sep. 9, 2020 at 5:43 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mike Lee and his brother Utah Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Thomas Lee remain on President Donald Trump’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

The president added 20 names to the list Wednesday in an announcement from the White House. He said they would be jurists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Scalia died in 2016. Trump replaced him with Neil Gorsuch.

“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment and equal rights for citizens of race, color, religion and creed,” Trump said.

Justice Lee was on Trump’s original list of possible nominees released a few months before the 2016 election.

The president interviewed Sen. Lee in 2018 when looking to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Lee said at the time that if he were asked to consider the job, “I would not say no.” The position went to Brett Kavanaugh after a contentious Senate confirmation hearing.

Sen. Lee, who has no judicial experience, also was on the list of 25 potential nominees Trump prepared during his 2016 presidential campaign.

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Trump added three more sitting U.S. senators — Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri — to the list he announced Wednesday.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that Trump wants judges who follow the Constitution.

“He wants textualists who believe the words of a statute actually are what they are, not subject to interpretation,” she said.

There currently is no vacancy on the Supreme Court, but the next president could appoint at least one justice. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s liberal mainstay, is 87 and has had recent health issues. Justice Stephen Breyer is 82 and Justice Clarence Thomas, currently the court’s longest serving member, is 72.

The other new names on the president’s list are:

  • Judge Bridget Bade, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Daniel Cameron, Kentucky attorney general
  • Paul Clement, former solicitor general
  • Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Steven Engel, assistant attorney general at the Justice Department
  • Noel Francisco, former solicitor general under the Trump administration
  • Judge James Ho, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Judge Greg Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Judge Barbara Lagoa, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico
  • Justice Carlos Muniz, Florida Supreme Court
  • Judge Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Judge Peter Phipps, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Judge Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • Judge Allison Jones Rushing, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel
  • Judge Lawrence VanDyke, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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