Republican Sen. Mike Lee said Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is considering retirement this year, calling it a "very real possibility."
A guest on Fox News Radio's "Benson and Harf" show Tuesday, Lee said he has "no conclusive evidence one way or the other about what's going to happen."
However, the Utah Republican said "there is a lot of chatter suggesting that Justice Kennedy might be preparing for retirement as soon as this year."
"Sometime between now and the end of June or the first day or two of July would be when we would expect an announcement from Justice Kennedy if he were going to do it," Lee said on the show. "What I am hearing is that he is at least considering it, and that it is a very real possibility.
"What I also heard is that, having been appointed by President Reagan back in the late 1980s, he considers himself a Republican and, with all things being equal, would prefer to be replaced by a Republican president," Lee said.
Given the midterms are a scant few months away, Lee said Senate Republicans should waste no time getting a conservative justice confirmed before whatever fallout could occur in the shifting of balance come November.
"There's nothing more important we could be doing than that. It should be something we jump right onto and something we certainly should complete before we get into the election cycle," Lee said.
"If President Trump ends up having the chance to nominate someone to the Supreme Court we need to get that nominee confirmed," Lee said.
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