A small group of U.S. senators say they will meet with President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Sen. Jeff Flake, and Sen. Susan Collins all have agreed to have a meeting with Garland, reports Politico.
Ayotte – who is running in a tight re-election race against incumbent New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan – said that she would meet with Garland to explain to him that she opposes any nomination during the 2016 presidential race. Prior to Obama actually naming his choice to take the seat of recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, Ayotte said she would not meet with the president’s nominee.
“He’s a current appeals court judge and out of courtesy and respect we will certainly meet with him if he would like to meet with me,” Ayotte said. “I would want to explain my position to the nominee…I would want to give him that courtesy.”
Ayotte has positioned herself politically as a Republican who is open to compromise. She called out conservative Sen. Ted Cruz for demanding the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the omnibus spending bill and also openly supported President Obama’s clean energy plan.
Flake – who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee – also said he would meet with Garland.
All 11 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter last month to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, informing him that they will not hold any hearings on Obama’s eventual nominee to take Scalia’s seat.