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Gov. Brian Sandoval Declines Consideration for Supreme Court Opening

But the Nevada Republican is "incredibly grateful to have been mentioned.”

ByABC News
February 25, 2016, 2:10 PM

— -- Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has taken himself out of consideration as a possible Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a statement, Sandoval said “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.”

“I have also spoken to Senators Reid, Heller and McConnell and expressed the same desire to them,” the Republican governor said of fellow Nevadans Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dean Heller, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “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.”

ABC News learned Wednesday that Sandoval, 52, was among the names the White House was considering, according to a source close to the process.

Heller, Nevada’s junior senator, reacted to Sandoval’s decision, saying in a statement, “As a friend and former colleague of Governor Sandoval’s, I believe he is eminently qualified for this position. 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.”

Sandoval was on a list of recommended candidates for the court submitted by Democrat Reid to President Obama, the source said.

The source also said Sandoval, while not yet sure whether he would accept nomination, was allowing the vetting process to go forward.

“Neither Governor 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,” a spokeswoman for Sandoval told ABC News Wednesday.

Sandoval was at the White House Monday when members of the National Governors Association met with Obama. He also met with Reid, the source confirmed.

All 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee had said Tuesday they would not hold a hearing or vote on a Supreme Court nominee selected by Obama, saying the nomination should be left to the next president.