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Democrats consider ways to pressure GOP in SCOTUS showdown

Sen. Jeff Flake on agreeing to meet Supreme C... 04:22

Senate Democrats are thinking about how they can apply some pressure on Republicans who are refusing to consider the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Wednesday.

"We are actively considering them this week. Some good ideas have been brought up, but no decisions have been made," the Illinois Democrat told reporters after meeting with Garland in his Senate office.

Durbin predicted that Senate Democrats would soon decide what kinds of procedural moves they'll pursue, though he emphatically ruled out shutting down the government.

"No one is suggesting that," said Durbin, who added that Democrats are working through the process in a "dignified and respectful way."

Asked if Democrats would consider blocking government spending bills, Durbin said, "We have not considered answering obstructionism with obstructionism."

Besides Durbin, Garland has also met with Democratic Sens. Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer, Bob Casey, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Donnelly, Ben Cardin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeanne Shaheen and Joe Manchin. He was scheduled to also meet Wednesday with Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Only three Republican senators so far have met with Garland: Mark Kirk, Susan Collins and John Boozman. Garland is also slated to meet with at least five more: Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

"These courtesy visits are an important step in the Senate confirmation process and represent opportunities for Senators to have thoughtful, substantive conversations with Chief Judge Garland. We look forward to additional Senate meetings in the coming weeks," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Tuesday.

While these Republicans are willing to meet Garland, most are still opposed to considering his nomination this year. After Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that the upper chamber wouldn't hold any hearings or votes for any Supreme Court nominee until after the next president is sworn in next January.

CBS News' Walt Cronkite and Mark Knoller contributed to this report.

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