Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Wednesday he's agreed to meet with President Obama's Supreme Court pick, though he still thinks the seat should remain vacant until next year.
Republican senator to meet with Obama SCOTUS nominee
"President Obama’s team has asked if I would meet with Judge Merrick Garland, and I have agreed to do so out of courtesy and respect for both the president and the judge," Toomey said in a statement.
The Pennsylvania Republican added he still believes voters should help pick Justice Antonin Scalia's successor by selecting the next president, who would be able to fill the court seat.
"I believe that is the best approach for deciding whether to alter the balance of the Supreme Court. I plan on making that clear to Judge Garland when I meet with him," he said.
He has not said when he'll meet with Garland. The Senate is currently in the middle of a two-week recess.
Toomey is the latest in a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they, unlike Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGiffords-backed gun control group endorses Toomey, Kirk Republicans say party can’t afford to cut ties to Trump McConnell calls for ObamaCare money to be used for Zika MORE (R-Ky.), are willing to meet with Garland.
Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteAyotte: Trump not always honest, trustworthy NH senate candidate: 'I didn't give my best answer' on Clinton honesty Republicans slam 0M 'ransom' payment to Iran MORE (N.H.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonGOP chairmen subpoena tech firms tied to Clinton's email server Watchdog: Pentagon needs to update FOIA policies Vulnerable GOP senator comes out against TPP MORE (Wis.) and Rob PortmanRob PortmanPolitical bedfellows of 2016 may be strange but not unheard of Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley The Trail 2016: Focus on the Foundation MORE (Ohio) have each suggested they are open to meeting with the president's pick, if only to explain why they think the Senate shouldn't take up his nomination.
None of the three senators — who, like Toomey, face difficult paths to reelection — have suggested they believe the Senate should move forward with his nomination.
Republican senators, including Toomey, have been under an onslaught of pressure from Democrats and outside groups to reverse their position.
Of the handful of GOP incumbents likely to decide who will control the Senate next year, only Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkWhite House dismisses GOP senator's likening of Obama to 'drug dealer in chief' The Trail 2016: Focus on the Foundation White House: 0M Iran payment wasn’t ransom MORE (R-Ill.) has split with his party and backed giving Garland a hearing and a vote.