Rep. Mark Amodei said Thursday he would consider a nomination to the federal bench, but stressed that he remains focused on getting re-elected and finishing his term.
Amodei said that fellow Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller had approached him earlier this year about including his name to be considered to fill any federal judgeships that open up in Nevada.
“Sen. Heller said, ‘Can I send your name up,’” Amodei said. “I didn’t make any inquiries.”
“You can put me through the process,” he told Heller, adding “but we’ll see.”
Heller’s office declined to comment on the conversation.
Amodei recollected that the conversation took place “well before March.” He said that Heller’s inquiry was not for any particular judicial opening. “It was just, ‘do you have any interest in this,’” he said.
Amodei said he has spoken to his staff and others about the possibility, which he would entertain, but believes it to be a low probability exercise given the partisan atmosphere currently in Congress.
“If there’s an opportunity that comes up, if, then we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he added.
He said among the hurdles to being nominated include going through a background check and getting the backing of the White House and that’s even before going before the Senate.
“I’m not saying that because there’s a problem, I am saying that in this day and age, it’s like ‘hey, I thought it was ok to watch Gunsmoke on Friday nights,’” he said. “‘Nope, it’s not ok and why did you do that.’”
Amodei is a reliable conservative vote for House GOP leaders, but he has also been an outspoken advocate for Congress tackling immigration reform, which House Republican leaders and the White House have been reluctant to take on before the midterm elections.
“There are some very reputable folks who didn’t get through the background,” Amodei said.
“If the White House said ‘ok’, the background check went ok and the Senate did ok, then I’d have a choice to make,” he continued. “There’s a lot of ‘ifs’ in between.”
“There are more off ramps and there is only one on ramp and in this atmosphere, I don’t think so,” he noted.
Amodei claimed that he has a penchant for sticking with his elected office. He said he quit a lucrative job with the mining association to finish out the last two years of a state Senate term.
“So my history in that area is not exciting,” Amodei said.