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President Donald Trump has asked advisers their opinions about nominating Utah Senator Mike Lee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, according to three people familiar with the matter.
It remains early in the selection process for a nomination that will be a crucial part of Trump’s legacy, choosing a justice who is likely to serve on the court for decades and cement its ideological balance to the most conservative in generations.
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Trump hasn’t settled on a favorite yet for the nomination, two of the people said. And even as the president mulls the 47-year-old Lee as a potential choice, the search for Kennedy’s successor remains wide open.
Trump thinks Lee would be easily confirmed by the Senate, but the president has expressed concern about keeping his Senate seat in Republican hands, one person said. All of the people spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations.
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He has been assured the seat will remain safely Republican, the person said. Trump complained that he was told the same about the Alabama Senate seat held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who wound up replaced by Democrat Doug Jones.
Trump is actively considering other candidates. Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is said to be another top contender.
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Lee has publicly denounced the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling, which could complicate his confirmation. Many of the other potential nominees, most of whom are judges, haven’t take as clear a position on reversing the precedent.
Lee was on a list of possible Supreme Court nominees...
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