Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin met with President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States last month in a ceremony at the White House's Rose Garden.
Garland, who was born in Chicago and raised in the city’s suburbs, graduated from Niles West High School in 1970.
"It's great to have this son of Illinois come visit me today," Durbin said before the meeting.
Durbin encouraged Republican lawmakers to move forward with the process of confirming Garland. A group of GOP senators, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is looking to stifle Obama’s appointment by not holding confirmation hearings for the Chicago native. The group claims they will not move forward with the confirmation process until the country's next president is sworn in.
"He is clearly a person well-qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court," Durbin said after the meeting. "I think that's one of the problems that the Republicans have. They just know that when they sit down and get to know him, and understand his background, it's virtually impossible to say this man is not qualified to serve in that position."
McConnell called Garland last month to tell the nominee that the Senate would not move forward with the confirmation process.
Nevertheless, Garland met with Republican Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk in Washington D.C. last week. Kirk has urged fellow Republicans to “man up and cast a vote” on Garland.
In addition to this, Garland met with Republican Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas Tuesday. Boozman opposes moving forward with the process to confirm Garland.
"During our meeting, I conveyed to Judge Garland my position, which is that the next president should fill the vacancy," Boozman said in a statement. "My position is firm. That means I will not advocate for hearing or a vot, nor will I support filling the vacancy with President Obama's pick after the election."
Garland also met with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine Tuesday. Collins supports the Senate moving forward with the confirmation process and urged her Republican colleagues to meet with the nominee.
Garland will meet with a host of other Republican senators next week. The list includes Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Obama will visit the University of Chicago Law School Thursday to discuss his Supreme Court nominee with students and faculty.
Obama will make his case for Garland and touch on the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to give a fair hearing to a qualified nominee, a White House source confirms.
A vacancy on the country's highest court was left after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.