Gov. Chris Gregoire says she was approached about becoming a candidate for the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens. President Obama has since nominated his solicitor general, Elena Kagan, to replace Stevens.
Gregoire dropped this mini-bombshell on me Monday at a National Guard farewell ceremony. I was asking her if she'd been contacted yet by the White House regarding the solicitor general job. Several news reports have said Gregoire's on the short-list to replace Kagan. For the record, Gregoire says no one has called her.
But Gregoire did let spill that she was contacted by members of the legal community asking if they could submit her name to the White House for Supreme Court vetting.
"I know I was considered for the Supreme Court," said the Democratic governor. "And I said I did not want to be vetted because I had my hands full being governor of the state of Washington."
Gregoire did not name the legal groups that contacted her, but said they had "broached the White House and the White House said (my name) would be welcome and that's why they came to me."
This isn't the first time Gregoire's been mentioned as a possible Supreme. In fact, one year ago she was talked about as a possible replacement for then-retiring Justice David Souter. Gregoire deflected the attention with a prescient endorsement of her own. "I am a fan of the president's new Solicitor General. She (Elena Kagan) should be considered," Gregoire told the seattlepi.com back then.
So, is Gregoire any more interested this week than last in replacing Kagan as solicitor general? If you listen closely, Gregoire's rhetoric is evolving ever so slightly. Here's what Gregoire told me last week:
'êYou know I'êm not one who will say never, I don'êt think that'ês right. But I have been very clear since the president was elected that now is not the time for me, that I'êve got to stick to my job."
And here's what Gregoire is saying this week:
"I've got a job and I think the state really needs continuity right now, but you know I've never thought what it would be like to have the president of the United States ask you to serve. So, I can't say never but I am also not looking for a job."
A slightly different version of this report appeared earlier on Austin Jenkin's blog The Washington Ledge.