The problem a president has with any court nominee is transparency. Until your choice actually begins ruling on cases, you can never be sure he or she was what you imagined them to be. By that time, as we know, it’s too late. As these are lifetime appointments, he and we are stuck with them, many times suffering disastrous consequences of a wrong choice.
Recent history is replete with Republican “wrong” choices, from David Souter to John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor and, of course, Mr. swing-vote, Anthony Kennedy.
We cannot afford to replace Anthony Kennedy with another Anthony Kennedy, or worse.
Because of the importance of his pick, I don’t understand why the president appears to be following the typical method of choosing only from a list of lower-court judges. Trump is obviously not the sort to follow the convention of, “this is the way it’s always done.” So why adhere to it now?
There is only one candidate right for this job, and that is Utah Sen. Mike Lee. There is no more transparent choice than Mike Lee. Sen. Lee was born to be a Supreme Court justice.
However, the conventional wisdom and whispers are that Lee has never been a serious candidate. If this is so, who are the advisers telling Trump to back off of Lee? Are there any, or is Trump dismissing Lee on his own? Is there any lingering animus between Lee and Trump, owing that Lee is good friends with Trump’s former rival Ted Cruz?
This nomination and subsequent confirmation may not break Trump’s presidency, but it could make it for all time. By make it, I mean Mount Rushmore make it.
If he picks an originalist constitutionalist like Lee, he will surely surpass Reagan as the greatest conservative president in modern history. And as Lee is the only provable constitutionalist on the list, the choice should be undeniable.
The issue, then, should be a simple matter of vetting.
Unlike the other five or six on the “short list,” Lee is the only politician. Normally, this is said to be a problem. Not this time, as transparency is key.
Lee has been in the Senate for seven years. Anyone can look at his stances on every issue and how he has voted. He is the only candidate of which this can be said. He has also not succumbed to the allure of the swamp in Washington, as many so-called conservatives have. There is a never-ending laundry list of politicians who started out as solid conservatives only to “moderate” over the years.
Virtually all politicians eventually give in to the dark side and moderate their positions. We can even see this on the Democratic side where Al Gore was once a proud pro-life advocate, Harry Reid was virulently anti-illegal immigration, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at least claimed to be against same-sex marriage. Republicans, a la John McCain, are no different.
This is the great advantage to picking a politician rather than a lower-court judge. Everyone agrees that there should be no litmus test for nomination, so if the president won’t or can’t ask prospective non-politician choices where they stand or how they may rule on a given issue, how does one otherwise determine? The short answer is that you can’t. Without a “paper trail” of sorts, there is no way to be sure. It’s a crap shoot.
However, there is no question where Sen. Lee stands on every issue under the sun. He is an open book of constitutional fealty and courage. There is no one smarter or more well-versed in the Constitution and original intent. And he, more than all other candidates, has suffered the slings and arrows of both the left and establishment right, who sought to unseat him in Utah. He has been absolutely unwavering in his commitment to protect and defend the Constitution. Lee has a 100 percent conservative rating on the CR Liberty Score card. As Conservative Review does not take into account “extra credit,” 100 percent is the highest score achievable.
President Trump says he wants a justice who will uphold the Constitution. If this is truly so, his only option is to nominate Mike Lee.