Trump spoke with Senator Mike Lee about Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, July 3 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump spoke with Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah about the coming vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, a spokesman for the senator said on Tuesday, confirming a story that appeared in Utah's Deseret News.

SEE ALSO: Activists mail coat hangers to GOP Senator Susan Collins

The senator was in Utah on Monday at the time of Trump's call, his spokesman Conn Carroll said, adding that he knew no further details.

The White House also confirmed that the president had spoken on the phone with Lee. Lee and his brother, Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rex Lee, are both on Trump's list of potential nominees.

Trump has said that on July 9 he will name a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Trump said he met with four potential Supreme Court justices on Monday.

9 PHOTOS
Supreme Court Justices
See Gallery
Supreme Court Justices

John Roberts, Chief Justice

Born: 1955

Joined Supreme Court: 2005

Appointed by: George W. Bush

Votes: Conservative

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is followed by Elena Kagan on her way to take the Judicial Oath to become the 112th US Supreme Court justice, in Washington on August 7, 2010. (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Born: 1933

Joined Supreme Court: 1993

Appointed by: Bill Clinton

Votes: Liberal

(Photo by Dennis Brack/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Anthony Kennedy

Born: 1936

Joined Supreme Court: 1988

Appointed by: Ronald Reagan

Votes: Conservative/Center

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy listens to opening statements during a Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee in Washington, D.C. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Clarence Thomas

Born: 1948

Joined Supreme Court: 1991

Appointed by: George H.W. Bush

Votes: Conservative

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas testifies during a hearing before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee April 15, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stephen Breyer

Born: 1938

Joined Supreme Court: 1994

Appointed by: Bill Clinton

Votes: Liberal/Center

United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks at the Harvard University Institute of Politics John F. Kennedy School of Government John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on November 6, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Samuel Alito

Born: 1950

Joined Supreme Court: 2006

Appointed by: George W. Bush

Votes: Conservative

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito speaks during the Georgetown University Law Center's third annual Dean's Lecture to the Graduating Class in the Hart Auditorium in McDonough Hall February 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sonia Sotomayor

Born: 1954

Joined Supreme Court: 2009

Appointed by: Barack Obama

Votes: Liberal

Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States Sonia Sotomayor discusses her book 'My Beloved World' presented in association with Books and Books at Bank United Center on February 1, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/FilmMagic)

Elena Kagan

Born: 1960

Joined Supreme Court: 2010

Appointed by: Barack Obama

Votes: Liberal

Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Elena Kagan speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch participates in taking a new family photo with his fellow justices at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

A person familiar with the selection process said Trump was focused on two people, federal appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, but others were still in contention.

Making his second Supreme Court appointment less than 18 months into his presidency will let Trump cement conservative control of the court for years to come. His nominee must win Senate confirmation, and Republicans control the chamber by only a slim majority, making the views of moderates, including some Democrats, important.

Lee, a conservative lawyer and Tea Party favorite, said last week that he "would not say no" if Trump asked him to serve on the court as Kennedy's replacement.

SEE ALSO: NBC News poll: Most want vote on Trump Supreme Court nominee before midterms

"I started watching Supreme Court arguments for fun when I was 10 years old. So if somebody asked me if I would consider that, I would not say no," Lee told reporters, according to The Hill.

Lee, a member of the Judiciary Committee, has served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Judge Samuel Alito. Lee also was an assistant U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City and general counsel to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. The Mormon senator was elected to the chamber in 2010.

Last week, Senator Ted Cruz, another Republican conservative, said he had urged Trump to consider nominating Lee, telling Texas' "Michael Berry Show" that Lee "would be a justice you could trust to always be faithful to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights." (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

Read Full Story