Two weeks after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death, a source close to the White House has confirmed to CNN that the Obama administration is vetting Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) as a potential replacement.
Since Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans have been calling for President Obama to hold off on nominating a justice, saying that that privilege should go to the next president and suggesting that they would not confirm any of his candidates. However, President Obama has said that replacing Scalia lies within his constitutional duties.
“If, in fact, the Republicans in the Senate take a posture that defies the Constitution, defies logic, is not supported by tradition simply because of politics, then invariably what you’re going to see is a further deterioration in the ability of any president to make any judicial appointments,” President Obama said from the Oval Office earlier today.
Though an unlikely candidate, many Democrats suggest that Gov. Sandoval, who is seen in the eyes as many as a moderate conservative, is one of the few candidates that Republicans would be willing to confirm under President Obama’s tenure. Though Gov. Sandoval has not issued a comment, he reportedly told a source that he would consider a Supreme Court nomination, reports the Washington Post.
Before he was elected as governor in 2010, Gov. Sandoval served as a federal judge—he was confirmed by the Senate in an 89-0 vote. Traditionally, he has supported abortion, marriage and environmental rights, and he was quick to adopt Affordable Health Care measures, though he tends to be more right-leaning when it comes to labor rights.
Earlier today, President Obama wrote a post for the SCOTUS blog outlining traits that an ideal candidate would possess.
“A sterling record,” President Obama wrote. “A deep respect for the judiciary’s role. An understanding of the way the world really works. That’s what I’m considering as I fulfill my constitutional duty to appoint a judge to our highest court.”
The White House has not issued a comment on Gov. Sandoval’s reported vetting process, and officials still have not released a list of possible nominees.