Collins backs hearing for Obama SCOTUS nominee
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (R-Maine) broke with her party on Monday evening, saying President Obama's Supreme Court nominee should get a hearing. 

"I think the obligation of the Senate is to carefully consider any nominee whom the president submits," she told reporters. "The best way to do that, in my judgement, is public hearings." 
 
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The Maine Republican is one of a handful of GOP senators who have supported President Obama's previous Supreme Court nominees, but she said the White House "has made no outreach whatsoever to me" this time around. Collins is also part of a small number of Republicans who have suggested they would be open to allowing at least a committee hearing on a nominee. 
 
Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkEx-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby The global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year MORE (R-Ill.), who faces a difficult reelection bid in November, wrote in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed that it is his "duty" to vote on Obama's nominee after he or she receives a committee hearing. 
 
Monday's comments are the latest signs of division among Senate Republicans on how to take on the impending confirmation fight. Democrats argue the mixed messages underscore the fact Republicans will eventually cave to pressure and take up Obama's nominee. 
 
 
"The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and I believe that it is today the American people who are best-positioned to help make this important decision — rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most recent national election," he said Monday evening on the Senate floor. 
 
Grassley told reporters last week he had yet to make a decision on if he would allow Obama's nominee to have a committee hearing.