President Donald Trump said Thursday he has narrowed down - to two or three - the list of contenders he's considering to fill the vacancy for the Supreme Court seat held by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Mike Lee of Utah, a fellow conservative and close friend who was confirmed last week to be on Trump's shortlist and has been interviewed for the job.
The President teased his potential pick on social media before the Fourth of July holiday, saying "I interviewed 4 very impressive people yesterday". Prior to her tenure on the court, Larsen served as an associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, beginning in 2015.
More than two dozen conservatives, including Paul, wealthy GOP donor Rebekah Mercer and several tea party leaders, signed a letter backing Lee as having a "proven record". Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republicans lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president's decision. Mike Lee of Utah - who is on the list of 25 - but the White House characterized the conversation as consultation.
The news outlet, citing anonymous sources, said that Lee is still on the list of possible nominees but that other choices were in the latest mix and that Lee is "not a frontrunner".
Democrats can not block Trump's nominee without help.
To Cruz, Lee stands out as a consistent constitutionalist, respected by his colleagues in the Senate, and a candidate who would keep Trump's promises to the American people to "nominate justices 'in the mold of Scalia and Thomas'".
"And even if some of these Republicans did oppose Lee - even just one - I think that boil needs to be lanced", he said.
The fact that Lee is a Senator means that he could, possibly, be voting on his own confirmation as a Justice, if he were to become the nominee. The son of a former USA solicitor general, Lee clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, served as a federal prosecutor, and was general counsel to then-Utah Gov. John Huntsman (R.) from 2005 to 2006.
On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from ME, reiterated that she could not vote for a nominee with a "demonstrated hostility" to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett could be President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court-a prospect that thrills many conservatives.
President Trump could potentially introduce a nominee who will overturn the long-standing ruling, and is expected to announce his decision on Monday.
Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament's Appointment Committee Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak has raised concerns over the inadequate time to vet the President's four nominees to the Supreme Court.