First GOP senator to meet with Obama's Supreme Court nominee
© Greg Nash
One of the Senate's most politically vulnerable Republicans will meet with President Obama's Supreme Court nominee next week. 
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.) is expected to sit down with Merrick Garland on Tuesday, his office confirmed to The Hill.
Kirk said late last month that he would meet with Obama's nominee, quickly breaking with the GOP leadership's strategy of refusing to begin the confirmation process or, in most cases, even meet with the judge.
While roughly a dozen Republican senators have said they're open to meeting with Garland, Kirk is one of three who have publicly backed giving him a hearing. And he will be the first to meet with Garland.
In a video circulated by Democrats, the New Hampshire Republican told reporters, "I don't know offhand when it is, but I've been told by my office that we've set it up and come to a mutual time." 
Ayotte has repeatedly said she believes the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat should remain vacant until next year and that she would use a meeting with Garland to reiterate that position.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who isn't up for reelection, is also expected to meet with Garland after Congress's recess. 
Republicans are facing widespread pressure to agree to give Garland a hearing. Democrats, in particular, are focused on targeting vulnerable incumbents and the seven Republican senators who previously supported Garland when he was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The president's pick also met with Democrats in Washington this week, including Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJuan Williams: The politics of impeachment Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' MORE (D-N.Y.), who is expected to be the next Democratic leader. 
In addition to meeting with Kirk, a White House official said, Garland will also meet with Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Indiana Dems: GOP has double standard on donations from alleged assaulters GOP campaign committees call on Democrats to return Franken donations MORE (Ind.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinTop Dem: Lawmakers taking 'more active role' in Trump foreign policy Questions loom over Franken ethics probe State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' MORE (Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenReport: Conyers settled wrongful dismissal complaint over 'sexual advances' Arianna Huffington denies Franken behaved inappropriately in response to new photos Right way and wrong way MORE (Minn.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDem: Ex-lawmaker tried to pin me to elevator door and kiss me In Washington and Hollywood, principle is sad matter of timing Mika Brzezinski: Bill Clinton needs to apologize or stop talking MORE (N.Y.) next week. 
Kirk's meeting was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times