U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (L) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2013 ( Mark Wilson--Getty Images)
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
March 25, 2016 4:53 PM EDT

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) will meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland next week, the White House confirmed Friday, making him the first Senate Republican to take steps to consider the nominee, in defiance of party leadership.

Sen. Kirk, who is up for a tough re-election battle this year, agreed to meet with Garland despite the fact that GOP Senate leadership has vowed not to hold hearings or hold a vote on any candidate President Obama nominates to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.

Sen. Kirk is one of several Senate Republicans who said they would meet with Garland, but he is the first to schedule a meeting. He will meet with the nominee next Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which broke the story.

Garland, a Chicago native, grew up in Lincolnwood, Ill.

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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