Republican Senator Mark Kirk Breaks Rank, Meets With Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland

WASHINGTON D.C. (CBSNewYork) — Judge Merrick Garland got a face to face meeting with a Republican senator on Tuesday.

It’s just one step in his uphill battle to the Supreme Court.

As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported, Garland was on Capitol Hill for a meeting with Senator Mark Kirk.

The Illinois Senator is the first Republican to defy his party by agreeing to talk with Garland about the Supreme Court position.

Earlier this month, Kirk called on Republicans to ‘man up’ and give Garland a vote.

“I think we should do our job and make sure that as the President put forward Judge Garland, we should give advice and consent,” he said.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP leadership insist it should be left to the next president to fill the seat created when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.

Garland was scheduled to meet with at least two other Republicans, but he is still facing a big hurdle on Capitol Hill.

“It’s mostly politics. It’s a matter of being open to hearing who the judge is, but I don’t see it as a sign that Republican opposition is cracking,” Professor Sarah Binder, George Washington University explained.

Binder said Kirk could be going against the party because he’s facing a touch re-election against Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

“He’s a Republican running in a very blue state. He’s going to face a lot of pressure from Democrats who support Judge Garland,” Professor Binder explained.

Judge Garland is a Chicago native and chief judge on the Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.

Even though other GOP senators have said they’re open to meeting with Judge Garland, Kirk is the only one to call for an up or down vote on the nominee.

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