Kirk recalled his return to the U.S. Capitol after recovering from a stroke to call on his Senate colleagues to work past partisan bickering. He said that everyone in the Senate shares "a foundation of deep patriotism."
"I know we all share this common goal; unfortunately the volume of rancor and partisanship in Washington makes it hard sometimes for us to achieve our full promise," he wrote. "But, now more than ever, we must all focus on that shared common goal as we deal with the super-heated partisan rhetoric following the tragic loss of a great American, Antonin Scalia."
Kirk said that a "partisan or extreme nominee would not be prudent," and said he hoped Obama would select "a nominee who can bridge differences, a nominee who finds common ground and a nominee who does not speak or act in the extreme."
"Such a selection by the president would demonstrate a break from the rancor and partisanship of Washington and a real commitment to a new beginning even as his own term nears its end," Kirk wrote.
Shortly after the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had passed away, Senate Republicans indicated that they would block any nominee selected by Obama. Since then, a few Republican senators have suggested they would be open to considering a nomination put forth by Obama.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, last week appeared to leave the door open to holding hearings on Obama's nominee. He told Radio Iowa that he "would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions." But later in the week, the Iowa Senator co-wrote an op-ed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stating that the next president should nominate Scalia's successor.