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Gov Says No To SCOTUS, But Would He Have Made A Good Justice?

Sandoval took himself off the list for the Supreme Court.
David Becker/Getty Images

Sandoval took himself off the list for the Supreme Court.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has taken himself out of contention for nomination as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

He made the announcement Thursday.

But, the fact that he was being considered for the job had everyone talking. Conservative Republicans said he was too moderate. Liberal Democrats said he was too conservative.

And then there was the block of Republican U.S. Senators who said they wouldn’t even allow a vote.

But the question remains: Would he have made a good justice? Or another way: is someone like Governor Sandoval the kind of person President Barack Obama needs to nominate?

State Senator Tick Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat and one of the most liberal members of the Nevada Senate, told KNPR's State of Nevada that he believes Sandoval would have been an excellent choice for Justice.

Segerblom has worked with Sandoval several times while serving in the Legislature. He described him as a consensus builder and someone who isn't afraid to go against the tide.

“From my perspective, he is a progressive," Segerblom said, "He may not be the most liberal person in the world but the reality is, given where Washington is and where the Supreme Court currently is, particularly if you compare him with Scalia, I think he would be an excellent choice.”

However, Segerblom believes Sandoval backed away from the nomination because he wasn't going to be approved and felt the nomination would have been a political football.

“It’s sad because the reality is if Obama would have nominated him it would have said a lot of about President Obama and a lot about Gov. Sandoval," he said, "I think very positive for both of them.”

Chuck Muth, the former head of the Clark County Republican Party, agrees that Sandoval most likely pulled out from the process because there would be no way for him to get a hearing, let alone a confirmation.

“No matter who he nominates it’s not going anywhere," he said, "They’re dead in the water.”

Muth said the very fact that liberals liked him is why conservatives did not.

“The very fact that liberals, like Tick and Harry Reid, find Sandoval acceptable is the exact reason why so many conservatives found him to be completely and totally unacceptable and there’s just no way that the Republican Senate was going to go forward with the nomination of Brian Sandoval,” Muth said. 

Muth also believes that while Sandoval can get support from liberals in Nevada it is unlikely he could have got the same support from outside the state.

And in the end, Muth doesn't believe anyone Pres. Obama nominates will get a hearing.

“If Sandoval couldn’t even get a hearing from the Republicans in the Senate who else could he puts up, Democrat or someone even more liberal, how could the possibly get a hearing?" he said. 


From NPR: Will Obama Nominate A Republican to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

State Sen.  Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas; Chuck Muth, former chair of Clark County Republican Party

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.