Could a RINO make it through the Senate Gauntlet and sit in Antonin Scalia's seat? - GWC
Sentencing Law and Policy: Vetting Brian Sandoval: who might (other than Ohio State fans) get super excited about his possible SCOTUS nomination?
by Doug Berman // Ohio State Law School
This afternoon I receive two email news alerts about a new SCOTUS nominee "front-runner": Nevada GOP Gov Brian Sandoval. I had been planning to do a post about Gov Sandoval as an interesting possible SCOTUS candidate over the weekend, but a few folks I spoke with suggested it would be almost silly to imagine Prez Obama nominating a GOP elected official. But, this Washington Postarticle, headlined "Republican governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval being considered for Supreme Court," suggests that at least a few Beltway insiders are having silly thoughts similar to mine. Here are the basics with the Post:
Brian Sandoval, the centrist Republican governor of Nevada, is being vetted by the White House for a possible nomination to the Supreme Court, according to two people familiar with the process. Sandoval is increasingly viewed by some key Democrats as perhaps the only nominee President Obama could select who would be able to break a Republican blockade in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday pledged “no action” on any Supreme Court nomination before November’s election, saying the decision ought to be left to the next president. The White House declined to comment Wednesday for this story. White House press secretary Josh Earnest has emphasized in recent days that the president has not arrived at a short list of potential nominees.
The nomination of a GOP governor — albeit one with a bipartisan record — could break that resolve.
Sandoval met Monday with Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid, a fellow Nevadan with whom he enjoys cordial relations. A person familiar with the conversation said that while Sandoval told Reid he had not made a final decision on whether he would accept a Supreme Court nomination, he would allow the vetting process to move forward. Another person in Nevada familiar with the process confirmed that the process is underway....
It is unclear how many potential nominees are undergoing White House vetting for the high court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Obama was seen last week carrying a thick binder of materials on potential picks to review.
Obama outlined his thinking in a guest posting on SCOTUSblog Wednesday [available here]: “A sterling record. 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.”
Some Democrats believe that nominating Sandoval could fracture the front of Republican opposition and force McConnell to take up the nomination in this contentious election year. It would also put on the spot a handful of Senate Republicans who are up for reelection in blue states in November.