Sen. Ayotte to meet with Supreme Court nominee
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Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteDemocrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate Lobbying world MORE will meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland next week.  

The New Hampshire Republican plans to meet with Garland on April 13, according to her office, even though she thinks the Supreme Court seat should remain vacant until next year. 
 
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“I will meet with the president’s nominee out of courtesy and respect, and I also plan to explain my view that the people should have a voice in this important nomination through their votes in November," Ayotte said in a statement. 
 
She told reporters in New Hampshire during the Senate's two-week recess that her office had set up a meeting with Garland, though she wasn't sure when it would be. 
 
Democrats have targeted a handful of vulnerable GOP incumbents, including Ayotte, as they ramp up pressure for action on the court nomination.
 
Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.), who like Ayotte faces a difficult reelection bid, became the first GOP senator to say that he would consider voting for Garland. 
 
 
A conservative group slammed Boozman on Monday ahead of his meeting. 
 
FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon suggested Boozman's meeting increases the likelihood that Garland will eventually get confirmed. 
 
"This is not the time for squeamishness or timidity. Surrendering to this president on the Supreme Court would create more anger and alienate conservative grassroots activists, the very people Republicans count on to win elections," he added. 
 
Approximately 17 Republican lawmakers have suggested they are open to meeting with the president's pick. Most, like Boozman, are expected to use the sit-downs to reiterate that they think the Supreme Court seat should be filled by the next president.
 
Conservative groups argue that agreeing to take a meeting with Garland plays into the White House's strategy of pressuring Senate Republicans into giving him a hearing. 
 
GOP leaders have shown no signs of changing their strategy. Speaking to a Texas Alliance for Life luncheon Friday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, pledged his party wouldn't allow an "Obama judge" to get confirmed to the Supreme Court.