Sources: Obama Considering GOP Governor for SCOTUS

Brian Sandoval reportedly being vetted
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 3:25 PM CST
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval participates in the opening session of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington DC last Saturday.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – President Obama on Wednesday told the Senate to do its job and at least give his eventual Supreme Court nominee a hearing: "They are then free to vote whatever their conscience dictates," he told reporters, per CBS News, but it's clear their "constitutional duties" include at least allowing a hearing. A hearing on whom? Well, per multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, the White House is currently vetting Brian Sandoval, the Republican governor of Nevada. He's described as a "centrist" by the Post, who says "some key Democrats" see him as "perhaps the only nominee" Obama might be able to get Republicans to consider. Mitch McConnell and the Judiciary Committee have pledged to take no action on any Supreme Court nominee from Obama.

Would that change if the nominee is a member of their own party? Three GOP senators who sit on the Judiciary Committee all said no, but other Republican senators say getting a nominee like Sandoval could be cause to reconsider. Some Democrats believe nominating Sandoval would put some Republicans up for re-election in November in an awkward position, and could ultimately force the Senate to break its blockade. Sandoval, who has a "bipartisan record" per the Post and is aligned with Democrats on abortion rights and the environment, met with Harry Reid Monday, and a source says he allowed the vetting process to proceed but said he hadn't decided whether he'd accept a nomination. It's not clear how many potential nominees the White House is considering, but the Journal notes there are likely more. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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