Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring, giving President Trump a critical opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right in what promises to be an epic confirmation fight. Shortly after Justice Anthony Kennedy announcement, Trump said he would be choosing the Reagan appointee's replacement from a list of 25 candidates the White House released last November. One of those candidates is Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah.
Senator Lee is known for his staunch conservativism. Upon learning he was on the list of replacements, Lee told "Fox and Friends" that he has been watching Supreme Court arguments since he was 10 "for fun."
"I started at that age watching Supreme Court arguments just for fun, going with dad to the court, and so I'm honored just to be considered."
Senator Mike Lee joins Fox News Radio's Guy Benson and Marie Harf to discuss how he feels about being considered for the Supreme Court nomination.
On Justice Kennedy's legacy: Having served for 30 years on the Supreme Court of the United States he's had a significant impact. He's been a consistent champion for a number of things I think are important, including federalism and separation of powers. These twin structural protections in the constitution. He's also been a champion for individual liberty, for religious freedom. He has earnestly strived every day for justice. Even though i haven't always agreed with him on every decision I have to respect his tenacity his work ethic and his commitment to the rule of the law. (1:00)
On the judicial philosophy he thinks is looking for in next Supreme Court Justice: I think as a member of Senate judiciary committee that the best supreme court candidate, the best nominee, would be someone who has a strong commitment to reading and interpreting the text, the text of a statute or the text of the U.S. Constitution, as the case may require. And someone who has a view that there is a a right answer in a case. You have to do the hard work to find it, but when you're asking to interpret a stature or provision of the constitution you have to figure out what the words mean. (1:49)
On if there was a Democratic president selecting a Democratic Senator You raise a very important point that someone's judicial philosophy doesn't necessarily match up with what would be their judicial philosophy someone's political philosophy might be in one direction, but if their judicial philosophy were different I'd take that into account and they don't always line up. Sometimes they do but not necessarily. (3:17)
On the kind of justice that could pass the Senate: Look no one is certain to get anyone's vote at the outset of a process and I'm not gonna speak for any one of my colleagues or for my colleagues as a group as to which judicial candidate they might vote to confirm. I think that question is one that can't be answered in the abstract and would have to be answered under the totality of the circumstance. (4:56)
On if Schumer made a mistake on insisting on filibustering Gorsuch: In my view that's when the executive calendar was nuked. In other words, it was in November of 2013 that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats decided to just conclude with a simple majority. That culture had been achieved even though they had only a simple majority and not the 3/5th's super majority required for closure. Once that happened that was inevitable that that would be the outcome on the executive counter. Meaning that when we're dealing with nominations the new standard would be a simple majority and so yeah, perhaps he shouldn't have done it there. (7:07)
On why this is different than Merrick Garland: Two significant differences. it's not a presidential election year but even more importantly the party that is in control of the senate is also in control of the white house. The democrats might not like that, but that is reality (9:28)