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Collins: President elected Nov. 3 should fill Supreme Court vacancy

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCDC's about-face on masks appears politically motivated to help a struggling Biden Bipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Romney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' MORE (R-Maine), a key centrist vote in the Senate, said Saturday that the upper chamber should not vote to confirm late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgJudge Judy on expanding Supreme Court: 'It's a dumb idea' Court watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress MORE’s successor before the election and that the nominee should be chosen by whoever wins on Nov. 3. 

“Given the proximity of the presidential election ... I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins said in a statement. “In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.” 

Collins, however, said she would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee beginning the process of reviewing the credentials of the person President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE is expected to nominate in the next several days. 

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The president said he will make his selection “without delay,” which Collins said is within Trump’s “constitutional authority.”

But she said, “In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently—no matter which political party is in power.”   

Collins is the second Senate Republican to say that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (R-Ky.) should not hold a Supreme Court confirmation vote before Election Day, and she is the first GOP senator to say so since Ginsburg’s death was announced Friday evening. 

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Senate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney MORE (R-Alaska) told The Hill in late July that it would create a “double standard” to fill a Supreme Court vacancy before 2021 and that she “would not support” doing so.

Murkowski reiterated her position in an interview with Alaska Public Media shortly before news broke of Ginsburg’s death.  

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“I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election,” she said.

Republicans control 53 Senate seats and could not afford any more than three defections and still confirm Trump’s nominee to the high court, assuming that all 47 members of the Senate Democratic caucus would oppose the pick.

Collins was a pivotal player in the Senate’s last Supreme Court confirmation battle over Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael Kavanaugh Klobuchar offers tribute to her father, who died Wednesday Conservative justices split in ruling for immigrant fighting deportation Supreme Court weighs whether to limit issuance of exemptions to biofuel blending requirements MORE in 2018.

While Murkowski announced her opposition to Kavanaugh, Collins laid out a powerful 40-minute speech on the Senate floor in Kavanaugh’s favor and her support helped the nominee eek out 50 votes.  

Collins is now in the toughest re-election race of her Senate career in a state that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCongress won't end the wars, so states must Democrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit MORE won in 2016.

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A New York Times/Siena College poll published Friday showed Collins trailing her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon by five points, 44 percent to 49 percent.

The poll showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning MORE leading Trump by 17 points, 55 percent to 38 percent in Maine.  

Updated: 4:41 p.m.; 5:23 p.m.