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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret Collins'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump 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 GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd among options for 'Remember the Titans' school's new name Bipartisan anger builds over police failure at Capitol Lindsey Graham praises Merrick Garland as 'sound choice' to serve as attorney general 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 TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit 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 McConnellPelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Democratic senator: COVID-19 relief is priority over impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history 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 Murkowski'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again 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 KavanaughWhy we need Section 230 more than ever 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Murkowski says she is not considering joining Democratic caucus 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 ClintonMillennials and the great reckoning on race Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet Can Biden encompass the opposition he embodied? 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 BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE leading Trump by 17 points, 55 percent to 38 percent in Maine.  

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