Brian Sandoval, the Republican governor of Nevada, took himself out of the running to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court after reports emerged that the White House was considering him as a potential nominee.
“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 in a statement, according to Nevada reporter Jon Ralston.
Sandoval said that he had also spoken to Nevada Sens. Harry Reid (D.) and Dean Heller (R.) as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and “expressed the same desire to them.”
“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, Sandoval further stated.
The Washington Post, citing two sources, reported Wednesday that President Obama was considering nominating Sandoval, a Republican centrist and former federal judge who has served as the governor of Nevada since 2011. The White House was reportedly engaged in a preliminary review process.
Scalia’s death earlier this month has sparked debate over whether Obama should nominate a replacement to the court during his final year in office. McConnell and other Republicans have argued that a nomination should be delayed until after the election year when a new president can make the appointment, promising to block Obama’s nominee.
Despite objections, Obama has said that he move forward with nominating Scalia’s successor, a decision that appears to be at odds with a past position held by Joe Biden, his vice president.
Evidence emerged earlier this week of Biden, then a senator, arguing in 1992 that then-President George H.W. Bush should hold off on filling a prospective vacancy on the Supreme Court until after the election year.
“If someone steps down, I would highly recommend the president not name someone, not send a name up,” Biden said in a June 1992 interview. “If he [Bush] did send someone up, I would ask the Senate to seriously consider not having a hearing on that nominee.”