President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that it would be "difficult" for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to explain his decision to withhold consideration for a Supreme Court nominee without looking politically motivated.
The source said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican and former federal judge, was among the possible candidates.
A 52-year-old Mexican-American, Sandoval was appointed a judge by Republican George W. Bush, Obama's predecessor, before being elected governor in 2010. He announced previous year that he would not seek the seat of retiring Sen.
Obama doesn't think Sandoval is that great, but he does believe filling the Supreme Court as quickly as possible is more important than securing a liberal legacy, and he figures Sandoval would at least be acceptable.
The source said that Reid asked Sandoval whether he would be interested in being considered for the high court, to which he answered positively. That is, if Republicans don't block President Obama's nominations. However, President Obama has said that replacing Scalia lies within his constitutional duties.
"So my hope and expectation is that once there is an actual nominee, once this is no longer an abstraction, that those on the Judiciary Committee recognize that their job is to give this person a hearing, to show the courtesy of meeting with them", he continued. A source confirmed to CNN that the White House is vetting Sandoval.
In the latest glimpse of the counter-offensive, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada blasted Republicans on the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, while Obama published a blog post on an influential, non-partisan legal site describing his criteria for a Supreme Court nominee.
"Well see what happens", Obama said, predicting, "the situation will evolve over time". Reid is a close ally of Obama.
Sandoval's possibly nomination also raised alarms in some liberal groups.
"There is an argument that the president shouldn't do this because he is a 'lame duck, '" Obama acknowledged on Wednesday.
"I don't like some of the things that he does but you can't help but like him as a person", Hatch told Politico.