Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada announced he was no longer interested in being considered as a possible Supreme Court nominee, 24 hours after his name made headlines.
“Earlier today, I notified the White House that I do not wish to be considered at this time for possible nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Sandoval said Thursday in a statement released to the media and published in The Washington Post.
“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,” he said in the statement.
Sandoval, 52, was described in reports as a centrist and moderate, a supporter of marriage equality, transgender rights, and a woman’s constitutional right to choose abortion. He was Nevada's first Hispanic federal judge and is a former state attorney general and state representative.
Sandoval could have become the second Hispanic justice, after Bronx-born Latina Sonia Sotomayor.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not comment specifically on Sandoval's withdrawal, but previously he did say the president was looking for “the best person to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court,” and that could be either a Democrat or a Republican.
“The president’s focused on criteria that, frankly, is more important, and that is that individual’s qualifications, and their experience and their view of the law,” said Earnest. “That will take precedence over any sort of political consideration.”
Sandoval revealed that he spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but did not disclose the content of their conversation.
And because of what McConnell and his staff has said to reporters, it may not matter who Obama nominates, if Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee hold fast to their vow to not hold a hearing or vote on any Supreme Court nominee selected by Obama. Their stance is that the nomination should be left to the next president, who wouldn’t even take office until January.
A spokesman for McConnell emailed the Associated Press to say even a GOP nominee like Sandoval would make no difference to Senate Republicans. “The Leader didn’t say the Senate would act ‘if’ it was a certain type of nominee. He said the Senate wasn’t going to act until the next president made the nomination,” wrote McConnell spokesman Don Stewart in the email.