|Sen. Mark Kirk|
Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk has taken a step away from his party indicating that he is open to considering a Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Obama.
"I recognize the right of the president, be it Republican or Democrat, to place before the Senate a nominee for the Supreme Court and I fully expect and look forward to President Barack Obama advancing a nominee for the Senate to consider," Kirk writes in a Chicago Sun-Times oped posted Monday afternoon.
"I also recognize 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," he added. "The Senate’s role in providing advice and consent is as important and significant as the president’s role in proposing a nominee."
Kirk's comments represent a stark departure from those made by Republican Party leadership. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has warned Obama not to even nominate a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia, because the GOP-controlled Senate will not act on it. McConnell, and the vast majority of his party, argue that the next president should get to choose the nominee -- in hopes, of course, that the next president will be a Republican.
In addition to Kirk, Republican Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have stated they may be open to considering an Obama nominee.