Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, of Nevada, is among the names the White House is considering as a possible Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a Democratic source with knowledge of the process tells ABC News.
Sandoval was on a list of recommended candidates for the court submitted to President Obama by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the source said, adding that Reid met with Sandoval in his Senate office on Monday when Sandoval was in town.
Obama and Reid have spoken about the process of choosing a Supreme Court nominee, both the White House and Reid’s office have confirmed. Both men are expected to meet in person later this week.
A spokeswoman for Sandoval told ABC News that "neither Gov. Sandoval nor his staff have been contacted by or talked to the Obama administration regarding any potential vetting for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.” But she would not weigh in on whether he is having conversations about a nomination with other sources with ties to the administration.
The White House declined to comment on the process.
When asked whether Sandoval is being considered, a spokesman for Dean Heller, Nevada’s Republican junior senator, would offer no comment “until the vetting process is over.”
Sandoval, 52, was at the White House on Monday when members of the National Governors Association met with Obama.
“I don't think it would be helpful for me to get into a rhythm of responding to each one as it appears, so we're going to let the process play out,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Sandoval, a centrist governor, could be seen as an overture to Senate Republicans who have vowed to block the president's pick for Scalia's spot on the court.
A possible deal-breaker for Republicans is that Sandoval is a supporter of abortion rights.
On Tuesday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee said they would not hold a hearing or vote on a Supreme Court nominee selected by Obama, saying the decision should be left to the next president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office signaled that a GOP-friendly nomination like Sandoval’s wouldn’t make a difference to Senate Republicans who have already decided against holding confirmation hearings.
“The Leader didn’t say the Senate would act ‘if’ it was a certain type of nominee. He said the Senate wasn’t going to act until the next president made the nomination,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in an email.
Sandoval, who was elected governor in 2010, was Nevada's first Hispanic federal judge. He was as elected attorney general of Nevada in 2002 and also served two terms on the state legislature.
If nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, Sandoval would become the second Hispanic on the bench, alongside Sonia Sotomayor.