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. 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.
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.
Back in March, Lee reintroduced the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would make it legal nationwide to refuse to serve LGBT citizens based on “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” His bill, which has not yet been reintroduced in the House, currently has 22 GOP Senate cosponsors.