Kirk would meet with Obama SCOTUS nominee
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation 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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Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states 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.
 
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' The Hill's Morning Report - Dem debate contenders take aim at Warren Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE (R-Maine) said on Wednesday that while she thinks the president's nominee should get a hearing, it's too early in the process to consider if she would meet with them. 
 
"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."