Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk took shot at his Republican colleagues on Friday for refusing to hold a Senate hearing and vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
“Just man up and cast a vote. The tough thing about these senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes,” Kirk told “The Big John Howell Show” on Chicago’s WLS-AM. “Your whole job is to either say yes or no and explain why.”
Kirk, one of the few GOP senators who said they would at least meet with Garland, urged Senate Republicans to “go through the process the Constitution has already laid out. The president has already laid out a nominee. For me, I’m open to see him, talk to him and ask for his views on the Constitution.”
Obama tapped Garland on Wednesday to replace the late Antonin Scalia, who passed away suddenly last month. Garland, 63, is a chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and has nearly two decades as a federal prosecutor, according to NBC News. He is widely seen as a moderate, an attribute that the White House likely hopes will help attract GOP votes during a Senate confirmation hearing.
Hours after Scalia’s death was confirmed, GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates vowed to block any move made by President Obama to replace the conservative judge.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders repeatedly said that the vacancy should be not be filled until Obama’s successor takes office in January 2017, and will therefore not consider Garland’s nomination. Democrats have rebuked this refusal.
Republicans Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rob Portman of Ohio, who are running for re-election, have suggested that they would be willing to meet with Obama’s nominee, according to Politico.