Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, has notified the White House he does not want to be considered as a possible nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States, according to a statement released by his office after days of speculation that he was on a short list of possible nominees.
Though, Sandoval said in the statement, "The notion of being considered for a seat on the highest court in the land is beyond humbling and I am incredibly grateful to have been mentioned.”
The 52-year-old, a former federal judge, met with Sen. Harry Ried on Monday to discuss the open Supreme Court seat, according to multiple published reports. The Washington Post reported that Sandoval told Reid, the Senate minority leader, was unsure whether he would accept the nomination but wanted to remain a candidate.
Today, Sandoval removed his name from any possible discussion. "I have also spoken to Senators Reid, Heller and McConnell and expressed the same desire to them," said Sandoval.
Sandoval is considered to be a political moderate and some political observers believed that if President Barack Obama selected a Latino Republican to succeed Justice Antonion Scalia, who died suddenly earlier this month, on the Supreme Court, it would put Senate Republicans in a tight spot — Senate Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have said they will not hold a hearing on anyone President Obama nominates until after the next president is sworn in on January 20, 2017.
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Obama and his team are hoping to select a well-regarded candidate who Republicans would be hard-pressed to oppose, then build a public campaign of support for him or her, while ratcheting up political pressure on Republicans for standing in the way of a fair consideration.
Once Republicans are faced with an actual candidate instead of an "abstraction," Obama has said, opposition might soften. He told reporters last week that he hoped Judiciary Committee members would "recognize that it is their job to give this person a hearing" and then let their conscience dictate their vote.
Some Republicans have told media outlets that a Sandoval nomination would not affect their opposition.
But others said they would consider Sandoval, who was nominated to a district court post by George W. Bush in 2005. He quit four years later to run for governor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.