Sen. Mike Lee believes the fact that the Supreme Court had to rule on the legality of prayer at the beginning of meetings is "sad," that the most important metric in weighing proposed corporate mergers is impact on consumers, and that America is in need of a reformed immigration system.
The Utah Republican began a wide-ranging interview with J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV by weighing in on Monday's Supreme Court ruling allowing prayer at the beginning of government meetings with his belief that "to say that it's okay to honor a prayer in the public square is no more remarkable in my opinion than saying that the sun is probably going to rise in the east tomorrow."
"It's a sad commentary on our society that we had to litigate this all the way up to the highest court of the land," Lee said, "and that this had to result in not a unanimous decision but a 5-4 divided ruling by the court, acknowledging what we all know to be true which is that there's nothing in the Constitution that prohibits us as a free people from choosing to utter a prayer in a public context at the outset of a public meeting."
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Lee said that given the ability of a Supreme Court nominee to advance the political agenda of the president nominating them to the court, it is important that future confirmation processes be approached "very cautiously."
"It's imperative that we understand this is a person who's going to have an opportunity to influence the development of American constitutional law for good or for ill," Lee said.
"We've got to review these nominees and their records, their traditional philosophies, their reading of the Constitution very, very carefully."
Another presidentially-appointed body, the FCC, will soon determine whether the proposed merger of cable television giants Comcast and Time Warner violates antitrust laws. Lee told Hayworth the sheer corporate giant that would result shouldn't be the main consideration.
"The test doesn't begin and end with simply the question of whether the resulting entity would be a monopoly," Lee said. "Federal regulators are taking a look at a wide variety of issues. What we're looking for is how this will impact consumers. We're looking at consumer welfare analysis, how this will impact the typical customer. We're there to protect competition, our antitrust laws are in place to protect competition, they're not there to protect competitors from each other, so that's got to be the inquiry."
Lee added that he believes President Barack Obama's desire to create an immigration reform package that includes a pathway to citizenship for all of the illegal immigrants currently in the country is "the wrong approach to take."
"We're a nation of immigrants, we always have been I hope we always will be," Lee said. "In order to preserve that system, to make this a place that's desirable for people to come to throughout the world we need immigrants coming in the front door, not the back. We do need to reform our immigration system, which is stuck in the Buddy Holly era and can't quite get out, but we need a step-by-step common sense reform.
"We need to pass legislation securing the border. We need to pass legislation updating and modernizing our legal immigration system to make it more effective and efficient. We need to get rid of some of the provisions in our existing code that are unrealistic. Once those things have been legislated, implemented and verified we'll be in a good position to be able to address the needs of the 11 million or so who are here illegally, to treat them with dignity and compassion and respect."
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