First republican senator to meet with SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland

Who Is Merrick Garland and Why Is He Obama's Supreme Court Nominee?

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk broke against his party and is set to become the first Republican senator to meet with Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, on Tuesday, his office confirmed with MSNBC on Friday.

The announcement comes a week after Kirk took a shot at his Republican colleagues for refusing to hold a Senate hearing and vote on Garland. Obama tapped the 63-year-old chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to replace the late Antonin Scalia, who died in Texas last month.

Kirk's office said more details about the meeting will be released on Monday and that the senator wants to know where Garland stands. The meeting was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Related: GOP Leaders Double Down on Pledge to Block SCOTUS Pick

In an interview with Chicago's WLS-AM last week Friday, Kirk, who faces a tough re-election fight, called on Republicans to "man up and cast a vote" because "the president has already laid out a nominee."

See more photos of Merrick Garland:

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Obama appoints new Supreme Court justice Merrick Garland
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First republican senator to meet with SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland
FILE PHOTO -- U.S. President Barack Obama annnounces Judge Merrick Garland (R) of the United States Court of Appeals as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, meets with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, meets with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (unseen) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: U.S. President Barack Obama and Judge Merrick Garland, the president's nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, walk into the Rose Garden at the White House, March 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Merrick currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and if confirmed by the US Senate, would replace Antonin Scalia who died suddenly last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Judge Merrick Garland speaks after being introduced by U.S. President Barack Obama as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, March 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Garland currently serves as the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and if confirmed by the US Senate, would replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died suddenly last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, following the announcement of his nomination for the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The nomination escalates a battle that will dominate the final 10 months of Obama's presidency, as the White House is locked in an unprecedented dispute with Senate Republican leaders who have pledged to ignore the president's choice. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama, center, announces his nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, right, as Vice President Joseph 'Joe' Biden looks on in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The nomination escalates a battle that will dominate the final 10 months of Obama's presidency, as the White House is locked in an unprecedented dispute with Senate Republican leaders who have pledged to ignore the president's choice. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama joins his Supreme Court nominee, federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland (L), during the nomination announcement the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, March 16, 2016. Garland, 63, is currently Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The nomination sets the stage for an election-year showdown with Republicans who have made it clear they have no intention of holding hearings to vet any Supreme Court nominee put forward by the president. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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"For me, I'm open to see him, talk to him and ask for his views on the Constitution. Your whole job is to either say yes or no and explain why," he said.

Just hours after Scalia's death, GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates pledged to block any move by Obama to nominate someone to succeed the conservative judge.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders have repeatedly said the next president should choose the next justice, and they will therefore not hold hearings to consider Garland's nomination. Democrats have rebuked their refusal.

A few GOP lawmakers have said they would at least meet with Garland, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who is also facing a tough re-election bid.

This article first appeared on MSNBC.com

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