ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Gov. Mario Cuomo allowed himself to muse publicly about the prospect of a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court just last week, comparing the job to ''heaven'' yet at the same time like ''being entombed.''

But Cuomo was mum now that a seat is coming open, declining to comment Friday on Justice Byron White's decision to retire this summer.

During last year's campaign, President Clinton said he thought Cuomo would make a superb Supreme Court justice.

''It's about as luxurious a life as you can imagine, intellectually,'' the three-term Democrat told the Albany Times Union last week.

''All you have to do is listen, think, read, conclude and write ... It's heaven. That's one theory.''

But the 60-year-old Cuomo also said the change in lifestyle from being a governor in the public eye to a cloistered justice would be profound.

''They take you. They put you in this big room,'' he said. ''They slam the mahogany door shut. And you're dead. You're entombed.''

Cuomo is a lawyer and former law professor who graduated from St. John's University Law School.