Senate

Republican senator to meet with Obama SCOTUS nominee

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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. 

“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.
 
{mosads}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 McConnell (R-Ky.), are willing to meet with Garland. 
 
Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Rob Portman (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 Kirk (R-Ill.) has split with his party and backed giving Garland a hearing and a vote. 
 
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is not up for reelection, has also said Garland should get a hearing. 
Tags Kelly Ayotte Mark Kirk Merrick Garland Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey Rob Portman Ron Johnson Susan Collins

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