WASHINGTON — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Thursday ruled himself out for a nomination to the Supreme Court, one day after news broke that President Barack Obama was considering the Republican to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“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. “I have also spoken to Senators (Harry) Reid, (Dean) Heller and (Mitch) McConnell 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 believed that after news leaked that he was being considered, there was “literally no upside to taking a political beating without the opportunity to have a hearing,” a source closely involved with the process told CNN.
Sandoval had expressed interest in the position and told Reid that he was open to being vetted. But he was taken aback that his was the only name leaked Wednesday and thought he was being used as a pawn in a “game of political chess.”
“It’s just not the right time,” the source said.
On Wednesday, Reid, the Senate minority leader, suggested Sandoval as a potential nominee. A source confirmed to CNN that the White House was vetting Sandoval.
After Sandoval’s announcement Thursday, Reid’s office said they had no additional comment.
A spokeswoman for Sandoval said in a statement Wednesday that the governor had not been “contacted by or talked to the Obama Administration regarding any potential vetting for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Immediately after Sandoval’s announcement on Thursday, Heller, a Nevada Republican, said he believes the governor is “eminently qualified” for the high court.
“But I support his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for the Supreme Court vacancy. I hope the next president will consider him in the future,” Heller said in a statement.