Kirk would meet with Obama SCOTUS nominee
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.) broke with Republican Party leaders on Wednesday, saying that he would meet with President Obama's Supreme Court nominee. 

"I would welcome the chance to discuss my philosophy, what would be my state's philosophy on the Supreme Court, to be an advocate for expanding personal freedom," he told The Hill.
 
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The Illinois senator's comments come after top Republicans — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.)— suggested they would not meet with whoever the president nominates, in addition to refusing them committee hearings or votes.
 
Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R-N.H.), who like Kirk faces a tough reelection bid in a blue-leaning state, said, separately, Wednesday that she would not meet with the president's nominee. Democrats and outside groups quickly pounced on her position, suggesting that she was putting politics above her constitutional duties.
 
But Kirk, one of the Senate's most vulnerable incumbents, is part of a small number of GOP lawmakers who have backed allowing the president's nominee to have a hearing.
 
He wrote in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed this week that it is "my duty as a senator to either vote in support or opposition to that nominee following a fair and thorough hearing along with a complete and transparent release of all requested information."
 
Kirk added Wednesday that he believes Obama's nominee should still get a hearing even though McConnell and Republican members of the Judiciary Committee have pledged they won't take any action until next year.
 
 
"We don't know who the nominee is going to be. No one's asked for a meeting at this point," she said. "So you're many steps ahead of where the process is right now."