Sen. Mark Kirk crossed party lines Tuesday, as he became the first Republican to meet with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.


The Illinois senator told reporters it was important to meet and discuss important issues with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, a Chicago native. Kirk is urging fellow Senate Republicans to do their jobs, be open-minded, and meet with Garland.


Kirk suggested “rational, adult, open-minded consideration of the constitutional process, which Judge Garland is a part of — he’s been duly nominated by the elected president of the United States.”

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Kirk said 16 Senate Republicans are considering meeting with Garland and moving forward with the nomination process.


“By leading by example, I’m showing what a rational, responsible guy would do who really wants the constitutional process to go forward,” Kirk said.


Maine Sen. Susan Collins has gone on record expressing her willingness to meet with Garland in the coming days. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the Senate won’t move forward with confirming a Supreme Court nominee until after the November election.


The Illinois senator told reporters he would consider voting for Garland.


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