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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid 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 GinsburgThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis Trump when asked if he'd be kinder in his second term: 'Yes, I think so' 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 John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' 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 McConnellMcConnell says 'no concerns' after questions about health Overnight Health Care: Trump says he hopes Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare | FDA approves remdesivir as COVID-19 treatment | Dems threaten to subpoena HHS over allegations of political interference at CDC The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage 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 MurkowskiRepublicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Senate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court 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 KavanaughClean energy opportunities in a time of crisis Susan Collins and the American legacy The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett 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 ClintonFive takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Trump, Biden tangle over Wall Street ties, fundraising The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage 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 BidenMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE leading Trump by 17 points, 55 percent to 38 percent in Maine.  

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