President Barack Obama could be getting ready to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who stated that he would not allow a Supreme Court nominee to be voted on until a new president is elected.
The name of the Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval emerged as a possible nominee and it set all of Washington, D.C., into frenzy as the news spread throughout the day on Wednesday. He is a former judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.
President Obama and Senate Democrats plan to reach deep into their bag of tricks and tactics to ensure the Supreme Court dominates the political debate up until Election Day. Their strategy is to portray the Senate Republican majority as obstructionist on every level, and Democrats are certain they have the advantage.
Obama’s vetting of Gov. Sandoval as a possible nominee will put intense pressure on the GOP members of the Senate. Sandoval, is a Hispanic, as a judge was considered as a moderate on a wide range of issues. Some of those issues included abortion, immigration and same-sex marriage, among other issues. He could be tough for Republicans in the Senate to overlook.
Following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, there’s been debate over whether President Obama should nominate a replacement, and if the Republican-controlled Senate should block any and all nominations until the president’s final term runs out.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dean Heller (NV – R) hinted yesterday that Sandoval if offered up as option for the Supreme Court, might at least get a hearing. The Nevada senator released a statement on Wednesday:
“The chances of approving a new nominee are slim, but Nevadans should have a voice in the process. That’s why I encourage the President to use this opportunity to put the will of the people ahead of advancing a liberal agenda on the nation’s highest court. But should he decide to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, who knows, maybe it’ll be a Nevadan. “
A spokesman for Heller later told the Associated Press the senator believes the nomination should wait for the next president. The AP also acknowledged that Sandoval is among the names being considered as a replacement for the deceased Justice Scalia.
Here are a few of his past rulings that will give you an idea of where he is on some key issues:
Gay marriage: Sandoval said he personally believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, but has not actively opposed gay marriage. Since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, Sandoval has said it’s a matter that’s been settled by the courts.
Abortion: Sandoval’s stance on abortion is similar to that of gay marriage. He doesn’t personally support it but believes it should be a woman’s choice.
Undocumented immigrants: Sandoval approved legislation in 2013 allowing those in the country illegally to obtain Nevada driver’s authorization cards and drive legally. Generally speaking, Sandoval supports paths to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
Medical marijuana: Sandoval signed a bill into law in 2013 allowing Nevada to create state-regulated marijuana dispensaries and grow farms providing the substance to medical marijuana patients. Transgender rights: Sandoval approved a bill in 2013 allowing judges to impose extra sentences on people who commit crimes against victims for being transgender.
Gun rights: As governor, Sandoval vetoed a bill in 2013 that would’ve required universal background checks for firearm purchases in Nevada. Sandoval said he supports enhanced reporting requirements concerning mentally ill persons, but “background checks for the private sale and transfer of firearms constitute an erosion of Nevadans’ Second Amendment rights under the United States Constitution and may subject otherwise law-abiding citizens to criminal prosecution.”
Thanks to the Reno-Gazette for his record on the issues.