- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2016

As one potential Supreme Court nominee sank like a trial balloon made of concrete, the White House said Thursday that President Obama will meet early next week with top senators of both parties to discuss a path forward to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

An early possible candidate, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, told the White House Thursday that he was withdrawing from consideration, just a day after his name was floated for the nomination.

“Earlier today, I notified the White House that I do not wish to be considered at this time for a possible nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Mr. Sandoval said in a statement. “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.”

Mr. Obama will meet Tuesday at the White House with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, plus Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the committee.

In a joint statement about next week’s meeting with Mr. Obama, the Republican senators said they “look forward to reiterating to him directly that the American people will be heard and the next Supreme Court justice will be determined once the elections are complete and the next president has been sworn into office.”

“And we welcome the opportunity to further discuss matters of mutual interest, like the drug epidemic that’s tearing communities apart across our country,” they said.

Progressive groups were attacking Mr. Sandoval, a moderate, within hours of his name surfacing on Wednesday, saying he was antilabor.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest wouldn’t comment on Mr. Sandoval’s withdrawal. Nor would he confirm reports that Mr. Obama promised Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and a member of the Judiciary Committee, that the eventual nominee will be “very moderate.”

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