Kirk says he'll consider Obama's Supreme Court nominee

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk reiterated Wednesday he'll consider President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

Obama announced the pick of the suburban native the morning after Kirk, of Highland Park, won his primary race Tuesday and moved on to November to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

"The Senate's constitutionally defined role to provide advice and consent is as important as the president's role in proposing a nominee, and I will assess Judge Merrick Garland based on his record and qualifications," Kirk said in a statement.

Kirk faced heat from both parties after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, with his primary opponent siding with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's view that Obama's pick won't be considered.

But Kirk won his primary Tuesday with 71 percent of the vote, a big win against political newcomer James Marter of Oswego.

Duckworth, both in her primary victory speech Tuesday and in comments Wednesday, worked to tie Kirk to McConnell.

"Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans doubled down today on their vow to block Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite his impeccable credentials," Duckworth said. "What that means is Mark Kirk is more inclined to have Donald Trump select our next Supreme Court justice, since Kirk said only last Friday he 'certainly would' support Trump for president if he is the Republican nominee. Like most Illinoisans, I find that possibility frightening."

Garland grew up in Lincolnwood and graduated from Niles West High School.

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  U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth smiles at her supporters after declaring victory in the Senate primaries in Chicago. Mark Welsh/
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