GOP senator: Give SCOTUS nominee hearing
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranBottom line Hawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill MORE (R-Kan.) is breaking with Republican leadership, saying President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court should get a hearing.  

"I think we have the responsibility to have a hearing, to have the conversation and to make a determination on the merit," Moran told constituents in Kansas this week, according to the Dodge City Daily Globe. 
 “I would rather have [constituents] complaining to me that I voted wrong on nominating somebody than saying I’m not doing my job," he added, according to another local paper. 
His comments are the latest sign of division over the Senate Republican strategy to deny Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a hearing, a vote and, in some cases, even an introductory meeting. 
While more than a dozen GOP senators have said they are willing to meet with Garland, most are using the opportunity to say they want the Supreme Court seat to remain vacant until after November's elections.
While Moran backed giving Garland a hearing, he said he's unlikely to support a Supreme Court justice nominated by Obama. 
"I can't imagine this president is going to nominate someone I find acceptable. I have a restricted view of what judges are supposed to do," he added. 
He also reiterated his belief that Garland won't get a hearing. 
Republicans have been under an onslaught of pressure from Democrats and outside groups to take up Garland's nomination.
"I am convinced more than ever that after meeting Judge Garland that as this process moves forward Sen. McConnell is going to find himself increasingly isolated in his obstruction," he told reporters. "Ironically, the only two people he's going to have in his corner are going to be Donald Trump and Ted Cruz." 
Democrats argue that momentum and public opinion are on their side. They point to a Monmouth University Poll released this week that found almost 8 in 10 Americans believe Republicans are "playing politics" with the court. 
Aides for Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBiden's first 100 days is stylistic 'antithesis' of Trump The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE (D-Nev.) quickly pounced on the comments Thursday, suggesting Moran is saying what other Republican senators are thinking and that he was already "uneasy" with the GOP strategy. 
On the subject of an Obama nominee, Moran told The National Law Journal earlier this month, "I'll consider them by my constitutional responsibilities, but it's my understanding there will be no hearings."