The media and the country are rightfully focusing on Donald Trump's cabinet nominees this week, but the specter of the Supreme Court vacancy is never far from peoples' minds.
Trump did receive one definite "I would accept if offered" answer from someone he may or may not be considering for the opening.
Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reports, "Conservative Utah Sen. Mike Lee said Wednesday that he would accept a nomination to the Supreme Court if President-elect Trump wants him there.
"'Absolutely I would,' he told Washington's WMAL. 'I would,' he eagerly told Larry O'Connor, host of the afternoon Larry O'Connor Show.
"Earlier Wednesday, Trump told a news conference that he has neared the end of his process to pick a replacement for the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. He said he plans to announce his pick within two weeks of Inauguration Day, Jan. 20."
One would think the fires burning over the confirmation of many of Trump's Cabinet picks would have died down by then. Needless to say, they'll reignite the moment the new president announces his selection for the Supreme Court.
Sen. Mike Lee would be an excellent choice for many reasons. As a member of the Senate, it's likely Lee would be spared some of the more ridiculous personal and ideological crucifixion other nominees would certainly face as Democrats cut down to the bone trying to snuff out the nomination, as they've already vowed to do.
The hearings for Sen. Jeff Sessions went fairly smoothly, all things considered, and I would think having Lee as the one responding to questions over precedents and court rulings from a hundred years ago would probably motivate senators to stick closer to the topic than they would for other people before them.
If Lee's nomination was defeated, for example, he would return to his elected position in the Senate, where the inquisitors would have to work with him for years. If they're too nasty and unfair, it will reflect badly not only on themselves but also the institution.
There could always be skeletons in Lee's closet, but the Utah senator appears to be a man of outstanding personal integrity as well as being dedicated to principle and constitutional originalism. And there's no doubting Lee's got the intellectual firepower for the job.
Appointing Lee would also be a smart move politically for Trump. It's well-known that Lee was part of the #NeverTrump faction and could easily prove to be a thorn in the president's side if some controversy arises in the future. The Supreme Court has traditionally served as a good place to bury enemies if need be.
Make no mistake; Lee is no "enemy." But as a relatively young man (age 45), Lee could easily serve on the court for 30 or more years. It would be a heck of a way for Trump to cement his legacy long after he's left office.
Let's hope Trump is taking all of these things under consideration. If his Cabinet picks are any indication, Trump will choose someone who's conservative and well-qualified for the nation's highest court. Then it'll be up to the Democrats to try and stop him.
This article was originally published at ConservativeHQ.com. Used with permission.
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